Africa’s Education System Does Not Produce Critical Thinkers – Dr Adutwum Laments

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The Minister of Education Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, has expressed with great worry the fact that the educational system in Africa does not produce critical thinkers.

This is because, the system has tamed pupils and students from asking questions by programming them to only reproduce what teachers taught them during examination.

He touted what Ghana is doing to change the situation at the United Nation’s General Assembly meeting in New York in the United States of America, Dr Adutwum said this type of education cannot transform Ghana and the continent as a whole.

Comparing the situation to his experience in the United States of America, he described Ghanaian school children as good and respectful.

He noted that he has visited a number of schools and anytime he asked the students at the end of his interaction with them if they have a question for him, no hand goes up.

“What it tells me is that invariably we tame the children. We just want them to write down what we tell them. At the day of examination, they should put down what we have told them and we say you are the best student the country has ever known.

That kind of education system will not transform Ghana. That kind of education system is not going to give us critical thinking individuals especially since we are in the 21st century and education 4.0-the fourth industrial revolution.

“You cant memorise your way out of poverty but you can critically think and innovate out of poverty.

“So, Ghanaian schools, African school have to begin to take a serious look at what I call assertive curriculum; a curriculum that empowers the African child to ask questions and challenge the status quo respectively within the African cultural context.

“But, not a curriculum  that tells the African child to be quiet and don’t say anything when the adult is speaking and tell the adult back whatever he was told.

“With that kind of education system, I don’t care if we get to the point where every African child is in school.

“If you put all of them in school and do not change the way you teach them by empowering them to be assertive individuals, you have still not transformed Africa through education. We have to make sure we can get the critical mass with critical minds that we need for our transformation,”  he stressed.

Dr Adutwum wants Ghana and Africa to  to stop taming students and rather help them to be assertive so they can open up at all times and ask critical questions wherever they might find themselves in the course of their lives.”

In the contemporary world, industry relies more heavily on creative and innovative thinking than memorisation, hence the need for the  country to produce critical thinkers.

Four Cs of education

Students who are critical thinkers come to the realisation of four Cs of education- collaboration, creativity, critical thinking and communication, making them competitive on the global market.

Learning nation

The Ministry of Education said it is on course with the government’s plan to transform Ghana into a “learning nation,”

Multiple reforms

Multiple reforms the government is carrying out are necessary to improve education in Ghana.

Education Strategic Plan

This ambition is anchored by the Education Strategic Plan (ESP) 2018-2030, mainly in response to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 4) Goal and it revolves around improving the quality of “education for all.”

National capacity building

The main focus is to improve pupils’ learning outcomes and ensure an overall impact of education on national capacity building and socio-economic development.

3  key objectives of Education Strategic Plan

ESP 2018-2030 has three key objectives, namely, improved equitable access to and participation in inclusive education at all levels; improved quality of teaching and learning and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education to produce students and graduates who will be fit for purpose at all levels and sustainable and efficient management, financing and accountability of education service delivery.
The Ministry has also developed the electronic-based monitoring system – the Fidelity of Implementation (FOI) Monitoring System, which is being used by major stakeholders in monitoring the progress of implementation, identifying challenges and taking constructive decisions to improve implementation and accountability.

Ghana Accountability and Learning Outcomes Project

The Ghana Accountability and Learning Outcomes Project (GALOP), to foster stronger collaboration to improve its education system is also being done.

More  reforms

Infrastructure development, teacher training, targeted instruction, parent engagement, textbook reforms, training of headteachers are some of these reforms.

First-ever National Standardised Test

The first-ever National Standardised Test organised by the Ministry for Primary Four pupils revealed that the Ahafo, Bono East and Bono regions which were formerly together as the Brong Ahafo Region, emerged as a strong base for lower primary education.

After the test in Mathematics and English Language, P4 pupils in the Ahafo Region posted the highest mean scores of 67% in English and 58% in Mathematics, while those in the Bono Region posted 65% in English and 55% in Mathematics, with those in the Bono East Region scoring 58% in English and 50% in Mathematics.

The Volta Region posted the least mean scores of 34% in English and 27% in Mathematics.

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