According to a report outdoored by the Northern Development Forum(NDF) in Accra recently, the performances of the various Senior High schools in the Upper West, Upper
East and the Northern Region in the West Africa Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination(WASSCE) have not been encouraging as they are mostly stuck at the bottom three of the 10 regional league table.
The Forum laments , “The area of quality education in the North still has some challenges as we are often struggling for the last three positions from the bottom compared to our sister regions from the south. According to the regional league table in terms of performance, the three regions of the northern north always comes 8th , 9th or 10th for the past ten years out of the ten region.”
In November last year, government expressed worry over the falling standard of education in the three regions of the north.
The government’s displeasure stemmed from analysis of the rankings compiled by the Statistics, Research, Information, Management and Public Relations (SRIMPR) Division of the
Ministry of Education which indicated that the Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions have consistently scored the ninth and tenth positions on the league table of best performing regions in the education sector.
The Deputy Northern Regional Minister, Alhaji A.B.A Fuseini said at the time that, “indeed, our performance at the SHS leaves much to be desired and we should rather focus on reversing that trend for the better.”
He revealed, “We are told for instance that in the 2015 SSCE league table only one SHS in the three regions of the north was placed at 28th within the first 50 schools and that is ST. Francis Xavier Junior Seminary in Wa.”
The Forum partly attributed the dwindling fortunes to the inability of these schools to begin the academic year on schedule due to late disbursement of their feeding grants.
In as much as the group acknowledges and appreciates efforts being made by government to arrest the situation, it is of the view that more sustainable and not adhoc solution is required.
“While we commend government’s solution to the problem in previous years, we respectfully seek assurance that a permanent solution would be found.”
It further lauded government’s effort to expand access to senior secondary educationand improve their quality. Apart from the removal of fees, the forum noted that other ways should be looked into. It continued that efforts have been made to improve supervision of teachers to reduce absenteeism and enhance time on teaching and learning.
“ In all this, the government should not lose sight of the need to bridge the gap in education between the north and the south of Ghana. The situation is still critical as ever before and it spans the whole spectrum of education from early learning to tertiary,” the forum emphasised.
It noted that properly equipped technical and vocational education and polytechnics are crucial for generating the skills relevant for employment, adding, “These are also, unfortunately, suffering from severe under- investment.”
Launching the Report titled, Northern Ghana Development Status Reports 2015, the Chairman of NDF, Dr Hakeem Wemah stated that the report looked at four thematic areas of development including, Agriculture, Education, Energy as well as Reconciliation and peace- building.
Dr Wemah told thegathering that the Report was in response to citizens’ to demands that empirical evidence be provided them regarding the efforts being made to address the Northern Ghana Development Agenda.
He indicated that some of the demands were reaching an agitated proportion which has the potential to threaten the peace if a way is not found to give an objective feedback on progress being made and suggestions for improving the development activities in the three regions of the north.
The NDF was formed in 2007 following floods that hit the three regions of the north causing enormous havoc to lives and property . It was therefore imperative for northerners to come together an push forward a developmental agenda that would stand the test of time.
The NDF was formed on the values and ideals of being Non – Partisan, Non- ethnic and non religious. It is mainly focused on a dressing the educational and socio- economic development needs of the people of the three regions of the north.
By Mohammed Suleman