Naa Ali Seidu Pelpuo Yelmaana, the Paramount Chief of the Busa Traditional Area of the Wala Traditional Council, says there is a gap between the increasing population of children and the available educational infrastructure at the basic level.
He said to bridge the gap many basic schools were sprouting up in many communities but without infrastructure and the necessary teaching and learning materials.
“As a result of the ever-increasing number of children in the country, there is the need to increase the number of Basic Schools to accommodate them. Schools are, therefore, sprouting up in every nook and cranny of the country.
The provision of infrastructure for all of them has become a challenge, in fact, a daunting one. So is the provision of furniture and textbooks as well as other teaching and learning materials,” he said.
Naa Yelmaana said this in Wa at the launch of the 30th Conference of Directors of Education (CODE) on the theme: “Resourcing Basic Education in Ghana for Quality Education Delivery.”
He indicated that in the communities, children could be found studying under trees, some lying on the bare floor in potential disaster buildings, and learning without textbooks.
He also observed that the frequent drowning of children on their way to school in canoes was due to the lack of schools in their communities.
He, therefore, said the conference was a “rescue mission” and needed the support of all stakeholders in education to achieve the needed results.
Naa Yelmaana encouraged the directors at the conference to be frank about their discussion to enable them properly diagnose the challenges to proffer the right remedies.
He also emphasised the need for fair distribution of the limited resources available among the schools, while encouraging the directors of education to endeavour to motivate their teachers and their frontline staff to give their best to the school children.
The Deputy Director General (DG) of Management Service at the Ghana Education Service (GES), Mr Stephen Kwaku Owusu, indicated that human capital development was crucial for national growth and development.
He said holistic education was the best way to develop the needed human capital for the transformation of society and that the Directors of Education played a pivotal role in that regard.
Mr Owusu also acknowledged the importance of the academic calendar for proper academic planning and said the GES had finalised the academic calendar for three academic years – 2023/2024, 2024/2025, and 2025/2026 academic years.
He said that was part of measures of the GES to restore the academic calendar to normal after the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted it.
“They are transitional calendars. We want to bring our system back to the September opening.’’
We are going to run this and after 2026 both the basic school, from KG through to Junior High School, and the Senior High School will start in September” the Deputy DG explained.
Mr Charles K. Dondieu, the Chief of Administrator at the Office of the Speaker of Parliament, who represented the Speaker, Mr Alban S.K. Bagbin, at the conference, referred the CODE to the theme of the conference and urged the directors to resort to reports of previous research works and conferences on education to find solutions to the issue of quality education.
He said those reports contained elements of quality education and that the problems of basic education including under-funding were a worrying situation.
Mr Dondieu said one of the challenges facing the educational sector was the high rate of turnout of teachers due to poor condition of service, which was affecting quality teaching and learning, especially at the basic level.
He said resources such as textbooks, infrastructure development and the development of professional teachers was surely the best way to go to improve quality education.
“You cannot use yesterday’s tools to do today’s job and still want to be in business tomorrow; it cannot happen. What we need to do now is to train and retrain the teachers,” Mr Dondieu explained.
He said the provision of past test question papers to students instead of teaching them to write and pass examinations was also a setback to quality education in the country.
He also advocated the need for quality leadership at all levels of the educational sector to make adequate use of the limited resources to achieve quality education.