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Our World Our People (OWOP) subject remains on curriculum until 2026

The removal of Our World Our People (OWOP) subject from the primary school curriculum has been extended from the 2024/2025 academic year to the end of the 2025/2026 academic year. 

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Textbooks of OWOP will, however, be used as supplementary readers after the 2025/2026 academic year. This is because the topics treated in the OWOP textbooks would be incorporated into other subjects as a result of the review.

The decision to make OWOP remain on the curriculum for now was arrived at after consultative meetings among the Parliamentary Select Committee on Education, the management of the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NaCCA) and the leadership of the Ghana Publishers Association (GPA) on Thursday, June 21, 2024.

It was in line with Article 103 of the 1992 Constitution and Order 250 of the Standing Orders of Parliament. The engagement was in response to a petition lodged with the committee by the publishers on the withdrawal of OWOP from the primary school curriculum, which was billed to cost the publishers.

The new roadmap for the removal of OWOP was contained in a letter signed by the Deputy Director-General of NaCCA in charge of Technical Services, Matthew Owusu. The letter, dated June 28, 2024 and addressed to the President of the GPA, Asare Konadu Yamoah, was copied to a number of officeholders, including the Minister of Education, the Deputy Minister of Education, the Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Education, the Board Chairman of NaCCA and the Director-General of the Ghana Education Service.

NaCCA said it would continue to extensively engage the leadership of GPA on the review and any proposed changes in the curriculum with respect to textbook development. So far, publishers have spent GH¢11.72 million to publish 263,318 copies of OWOP textbooks for primary schools.

Some of the publishers include Town and Country Books, which has 26,727 textbooks in stock; Adwinsa Publications, with 13,457 textbooks; NNF Esquire Ltd with 66,595 stock of textbooks and Masterman Publications, which has 43,759 textbooks in stock.

Others are Alpha and Omega Publications, with 44,444 textbooks; Badu Nkansah Books with 6,000 copies, MJP with 9,000 copies, Potosky Series, which has 53,336 copies and Vestel Publications Limited, with 17,877 copies of OWOP.

The Our World and Our People is to enable learners to develop knowledge, understanding, skills and competencies through a combination of social constructivism and realism. The philosophy of learning OWOP is based on the need to nurture citizens who are able to construct new knowledge and ideas, describe, analyse and evaluate environmental issues.

Through the learning of OWOP, learners specifically acquire critical thinking and problem-solving skills to be able to compare and contrast, analyse, evaluate and apply geographical knowledge with little or no supervision.

They, among other things, acquire creative thinking skills to be able to reconstruct important information confidently and digital literacy skills to be able to use IT tools and resources efficiently for investigations and project work.

Committee chair

The Chairman of the Education Committee of Parliament, Kwabena Amankwah Asiamah, confirmed the extension and commended NaCCA for the cooperation in addressing the issue.

He said the committee, however, advised NaCCA to endeavour to discuss such issue with the publishers before taking such a drastic decision to remove the subject from the curriculum, since they worked together for the good of the country.

“We told them that they should always coordinate activities because cross pollination of ideas is better,” he stated. Mr Asiamah, who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for Fanteakwa North, said if the issue was discussed before the decision, it would not have come to the committee.

He said the publishers had raised concerns about NaCCA’s decision, hence their decision to petition the committee for its intervention in the matter. Responding to the development, the President of GPA extended the members’ gratitude to the Parliamentary Select Committee on Education and NaCCA for making time to engage them.

“The Parliamentary Select Committee on Education has directed the NaCCA and the GES to extend the time for the phase-out of the OWOP as a subject from the primary school curriculum from 2024/2025 academic year to the end of 2025/2026 academic year.

“The meeting further agreed that OWOP should be used as a supplementary material in schools after the 2025/2026 academic year,” Mr Yamoah emphasised.

Mr Yamoah explained that the publishers had to petition the education committee after its initial requests to the Minister of Education and NaCCA for the earlier decision to be reviewed failed.

He said after a meeting with the sector minister who promised that they were going to look into the request, it did not hear from the ministry and thought the time was also running out.

"So, we had to petition the committee for it to intervene and that occasioned the meeting we held with NaCCA," the publishers association president said. Mr Yamoah said the decision to remove OWOP from the curriculum came midstream when publishers had printed the books.

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In view of that, he said, the association needed to ensure that its members were not disadvantaged. Aside from the cost to publishers, the book was a carefully selected material which did not have any alternatives at the time, Mr Yamoah stated.

"So we thought that there was going to be a lacuna, with teachers and students having challenges to fill in," he explained. The GPA president added that if the children were denied OWOP, it meant that they were not going to study the subject until they got to junior high school.

Mr Yamoah said the extension period was okay but stressed the need for the Ministry of Education and NaCCA to redevelop whatever subject that would fill in the OWOP gap "because it still has to be taught in schools".

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