Mr Peter Maala, the Chief Director at the Upper Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) has urged teachers to work harder to improve performance and make public basic schools a preferred choice to attract more children to help reduce cost on parents.
He said there was a public perception that private basic schools were performing far better than public basic schools despite the huge infrastructure and quality of teachers at the public basic schools.
He said teachers must, therefore, work persistently to demystify the perception through improvement in performance to gain confidence and change the mind-set of parents to prefer public schools to private schools at the basic level.
Mr Maala made the observation during the 2022 education sector performance review forum held in Wa, to reflect on operations and education delivery, especially its shortfalls and to chart the way forward for improvement.
He noted that ironically, at the secondary and tertiary levels, the trend was not the same, as most parents preferred their children to attend public sector secondary schools and universities to those in the private sector, and that meant that something had gone wrong at the public basic school level, which the authorities needed to address.
He said the RCC was aware of the infrastructural challenges facing schools in the region and was collaborating with GETFUND and lobbying other development partners for the provision of projects and other basic needs.
Mr Razak Z. Abdul-Korah, the Acting Upper West Regional Director of Education said it was the vision and mission of the directorate to develop a region of academic excellence where all children of school going age have access to quality pre-tertiary education with technical capabilities in enabling environment culminating in national growth and development of its people.
To achieve this, it intended to intensify supervision, coordinating, monitoring and evaluation activities by the municipal and district directorate of education and education units on the provision of quality pre-tertiary education.
He called on teachers at the basic school level to ensure that children enrolled in schools were of the right ages to enhance quality teaching and learning.
This, he noted, would help reduce burden on teachers to handle learners who unfortunately were struggling to concentrate in class.
“Going to school at the right age is very important; but the right age enrolment campaign is not being sustained by government,” he said.
“The Wa East is an example of districts that have been weaned off donor support on right age enrolment and they are currently hit with high enrolment at the wrong ages,” he added.
Mr Abdul-Korah noted that the practice where overaged children were enrolled to basic schools was hindering effective teaching and learning and must be discouraged to allow equal learning opportunities for all children on admission.
He said the region had achieved gender parity at all levels of education though the index balanced in 2021, it was clear more emphasis was mostly on girls than boys, while more support was needed at the Senior High School level to sustain parity achieved in 2021.
Mr Abdul-Korah said several teachers were commuting to schools daily due to the lack of accommodation, especially in highly deprived communities without motivation.
Teacher attrition rate was also very high and worst hit was the Lambussie District struggling to sustain teachers just for one or two years.