A private legal practitioner, Nii Kpakpo Samoa Addo has criticised the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government for continuing in what he called its tendency for cosmetic educational reforms.
He made reference to the Kufuor government’s adoption of a four-year education duration for Senior High Schools.
“If you look closely at the NPP’s policies when it comes to education, they are very cosmetic, unfortunately. I think that they have a fixation for wanting to please the masses,” Mr. Addo said on The Big Issue on Saturday.
He remarks were in relation to the Ghana Education Service’s new reforms in the educational sector which included the introduction of a new curriculum at the basic level and new uniforms for junior high school students.
“It is not wrong to reform the curriculum but it is wrong to touch it in a way that does not hit at the most essential or core problems that are facing the educational sector. For example, access to education.”
He also echoed recent comments by former President John Mahama, who felt too much money was being spent on the Free SHS policy at the expense of other sectors of education.
GHc1.682 billion had been earmarked for the implementation of the Free SHS programme in the 2019 budget.
Mr. Addo suggested that the government should shift some of the free SHS budgets into basic education “to make sure that as a nation we are able to tell ourselves that we do not have any child missing out on basic education.”
Schools under trees, cutting down the distance to schools and improving access should be the government’s vision, he added.
New uniforms misplaced
On the new uniforms for junior high schools, which has attracted some criticism, Mr. Addo said the government needed to be mindful the toll it will have on deprived homes.
“Why should I incur the extra cost of changing the uniform in the ground when in the villages and in the deprived areas, they are writing on stones.”
Also on the show, a former Ghana Education Service Director, Charles Aheto Tsegah said the new uniform announcement was a bit of a distraction.
“This whole school uniform matter makes me very uncomfortable. It brings in non-essentials into a very serious discussion when in fact, we should be getting focused on the things that really matter,” he said.
Aheto Tsegah said he “wouldn’t put school uniforms anywhere within the ten or five top things we need to do in terms of the reforms.”
“If the Ghana Education service management considers it as something that is worth doing, I wouldn’t contest them but If you ask me if in terms of whether it will have any significant effect on children’s learning, I would say no,” the former GES Boss added.