The year 2018 has seen so much happening in the education sector of this dear country of ours and going forward, there is the need to take a critical look at certain issues that have not gone done well with the people we serve as a government.
Leadership is about the influence that is positive, life-changing, challenging and also gets to understand the issues tabled by the followers (citizens). Finding lasting solutions and helping followers to understand the strategic focus of the country or the ministry of education on education and the associated policies ensures no follower is left behind.
Our education sector has been in the news for varied reasons. The good, the bad and the ugly have unfolded yet, we seem to have little or no success. Demonstrations, strike actions, avoidable accidents, gold and green track success, and challenges are a few of the issues. Each time one huddle is about to be dealt with, another raises its head. This surely gives the government, the ministry of education and the minister of education a lot to be worried about.
The introduction of the Double Track System at the SHS has come to stay for now however, I hold the view that, infrastructure is key if we are as a nation to deal with the shift system we are currently practising.
Under the Mahama led government, the NDC built Community Day Schools, some of these schools are still not completed. Should these be completed, there is a high possibility that infrastructural challenges will be curtailed.
I urge you, Mr. Minister and your abled ministry to work hard to swallow your pride if any and complete the school buildings started under the former president of Ghana John Dramani Mahama.
This will provide the needed infrastructure to help give our brothers, sisters, and children quality education. It will help to fast track our education system at the SHS back to the three terms per year so we have more time to train and educate the young minds in transition at the SHS.
Related: Benefits of SHS in Ghana
However, Mr. Minister, I agree that there is the need to build new schools because more students will complete JHS each year going forward and will have to access Senior High School education. We do not have to wait as a country again only to find short-term measures for our education infrastructure needs.
Vocational and Technical programs and New TVET schools needed
In an attempt to build new schools, Mr. Minister, give more priority to technical and vocational educations. Build schools that provide education in the technical and vocations programs such as
- Architectural Drafting
- Auto Body Repairs
- Building Construction Technology
- Business System Technician Course
- Computer Technology
- Creative Art Technology
- Electrical Engineering Technology
- Electronics Engineering
- Industrial Maintenance
- Mechanical Engineering Technology
- Motor Vehicle Engineering
- Plumbing & Gas Fitting Technology
- Refrigeration & Air- Condition Technology
- Small Engine Repairs
- Welding and Fabrication Technology
- Wood Construction Technology
- Home Economics
- Visual Arts
The purpose of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) is to equip people with the technical and professional skills needed for socio-economic and industrial development of the country.
These are the words of (Ansah & Kissi, 2013) in their research paper “Technical and Vocational Education and Training in Ghana: A Tool for Skill Acquisition and Industrial Development.”
We are tired of having new schools that provide education in the Sciences, Business, and the like. We need new government schools that are technical and vocations training bias, and well resourced to provide technical and vocations education. Making these school attractive will encourage the best students to offer such programs.
An article by Ghanaweb.com titled “Free SHS reduces enrollment at Yamfo Vocational Training Institute” revealed that enrolment dropped to an all-time low in the school because BECE graduates who would have gained admission to technical and vocational schools have all decided to join the masses to secondary schools.
Myjoyonline.com also published a disturbing article on the same issues. While Technical and Vocational Training provided employable skills to beneficiaries, the Secondary school only produced graduates who learned big books. The Free SHS and Double Tracks system have failed to identify the practical tools/equipment/materials to be provided at the TVET. these tools and equipment are very often expensive yet needed to improve teaching and learning at the TVET.
What needs to be done now about TVET?
Mr. Minister, it looks as if your ministry has not prioritized TVET as far as the free SHS is concerned. It is important that we speed the implementation of the approved five-year TVET strategy for Technical and Vocational Education Training COTVET.
Please do well to give more attention to our technical and vocational schools, it is the future and the success story of countries such as Germany and China must guide us. TVET needs all the help to continue to provide trained expertise to man our industrial and champion Ghana’s industrialization drive under the able leadership of the president of Ghana, HE Nana Addo Danquah Akufoo Addo
Mr. Minister, many Ghanaians would agree with me that, the courses enumerated above hold the key to unlocking Ghana’s potential to become an industrialized nation. These courses will prepare students for technical universities to acquire the needed training, skills and education needed by the factories to be built under the 1D1F policy.
President Nana Akufo-Addo has said the goal of his government is to make Ghana a world-renowned destination for skills development, and a leading country in technical and vocational education training (TVET) in Africa. Citinews
If industrialization of Ghana is at the heart of your government, then consider the vocational and technical schools as the foundation pillars of the larger picture at the national level. In an article written and published on April 8th, 2016 titled “Evils of Recruiting Agencies against unemployed graduates job seekers”, I tabled some suggestions which are in line with the one district one factory initiative of the government. I believe that the article is worth reading.
The current situation needs to be fixed
Currently, our education sector has been flooded with programs in the Sciences, Business, and the humanities hence some students who come out of the university do not have the requisite skills and knowledge needed for the job market.
We cannot work hard to realize the 1D1F dream of this nation, get the factories in place and not have the needed manpower for the factories. Should this happen, there will be a human resource gap which may compel us to either import foreigners or employ graduates who do not have the needed skills. A typical example is the employment of graduates to teach in schools to help in the smooth running of the gold truck.
If we had enough trained and graduate teachers, the country would have had less challenge in that regard.
Leadership posture and approach
Mr. Minister of Education, as I have mentioned early in this open letter, leadership is about influence. I stand to be corrected, it looks as though the government has decided not to be open to ideas from stakeholders of education. A lot might have gone on without our notice but we speak based on what we have seen and the posture of government. If this is true, then it means, the leadership style that has been deployed by you Mr. Minister of education is not helping matters and might have made you unpopular to some degree.
Effective communication is critical to leading professionals in every field and the teachers of this country at all levels, lecturers, as well as educational institutions (public and private) such as colleges of education, universities and the like, are critical stakeholders.
It is always good to engage such sectors or groups in effective dialogue to ensure they are on the side of the government to deliver on the job. Their welfare, concerns, needs, suggestions, and criticisms cannot be ignored because they can make or break every good plan you have.
Mr. Minister, you have what it takes to lead the education ministry and if the right things are done in leading the people you will achieve greater success than you are doing currently.
One cannot tell the kind of leadership style that has been deployed. Are you transformational or autocratic? Are you using path-goal approach, transactional leadership approach or what?
How prepared are we for the 1st batch of double track student for tertiary education Mr. Minister?
Mr. Minister, take a critical look at the tertiary institutions in Ghana, each year many SHS graduates are either denied access to tertiary education because of the limited numbers the schools can admit. This year over 190,000 could not gain access to tertiary education because they failed in Mathematics or Science.
If they had all passed, would our universities and colleges be able to admit them? I doubt. Now the worrying issue is that our second cycle institutions have doubled their intake as a result of the double track system. It is important that your ministry starts thinking strategically as to what has to be done now to ensure that, our tertiary institutions are able to absorb the huge numbers when the first batch of double track graduates are due for university education in three years. You can use the first batch of free SHS as a case study of our readiness as a country. As a country, we will not wait for excuses nor trial and errors. We don’t want a situation where a large number of graduates will qualify for admission into tertiary institutions only to be told there is not space. Let us start finding solutions to this now.
The least we talk about the possibility of having more SHS graduates without the basic skills to survive after school, the better.
Have you though oF WASSCE for the first batch of Double Track Students?
This is one of the questions a student asked me? Now that we have a double track with one track going to school to start one semester ahead of the other, when, and how are we as a nation preparing to manage the two tracks when they are ready to write the WASSCE? It is time to begin thinking about these issues.
Currently, it looks as though the WAEC would have to write two different exams, one for each track or one track would complete school and wait for the other track to complete before they can both take the same examination.
Finally, as a leader with a strong emotional stability, you have what it takes to lead an army of followers whether they are disgruntled or not. This open letter may be brief, but it is relevant to your work. Take a critical look at it and the issues raised. There are issues in it that need your attention. Many like me would love to reach out to share our laymen ideas but the opportunity is not there hence this medium is good enough to share a few thoughts with you. Certainly this will get to you.