President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Thursday announced that this year a legislation will be passed to redefine basic education to include senior high school.
He said in September this year, the new standard based curriculum would be rolled out from kindergarten to class six in primary schools.
The President said this in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) presented to Parliament.
“This curriculum has drawn upon the best practices from all over the world, and will focus on making Ghanaian children confident, innovative, creative-thinking, digitally-literate, well-rounded, and patriotic citizens. Mathematics, Science, Reading, Writing and Creativity are, therefore, at the heart of this new curriculum.”
The President said Ghana might be the toast of the world because of its economy, stating that: “We have all accepted that these economic fundamentals are the foundation upon which our people will become prosperous, but if they are uneducated or poorly educated, then prosperity will continue to elude them”.
He said a sudden injection of oil revenue or a rise or fall in the price of gold or cocoa could make a dramatic difference to the nation’s financial situation, but there were no shortcuts to having an educated and skilled workforce.
“We have no choice but to provide our young people with quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for every Ghanaian,” he said.
“It is the only way to ensure prosperity and to protect our democracy. We are not sparing any efforts to make education in Ghana of the best quality, and fit for the needs of the 21st century.”
President Akufo-Addo said poverty should not be an excuse for any Ghanaian child not to reach his or her full potential.
“It, therefore, warms my heart that we are now able to say that education in the public sector is free from kindergarten to senior high school (SHS),” he said.
The President noted that young people have to have options on which career path to choose.
He said all was set for the construction of 10 state-of-the-art Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) centres this year.
“For far too long, we have preached about the importance of TVET without doing very much to demonstrate this importance. We send or urge young people to go to poorly equipped TVET centres, and we are surprised that they are not keen,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo said the new TVET centres would be world class and attractive to assure young people that they were not being sent to second best options.
“We are also bent on demystifying Science, Mathematics and Technology.”
He said 10 Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) centres were being built around the country to provide support for the introduction of STEM into basic education after the completion of a successful pilot phase.
“We can be sure, therefore, that Ghana’s young people will be able to acquire skills that would put them at par with their peers anywhere in the world.”
President Akufo-Addo said the importance of Science, Technology and Innovation had led him to appoint a Presidential Advisory Council on those subjects to advice him on how to infuse the application of Science and Technology in the development of the nation.
“We shall bring before Parliament this year, a tertiary education policy bill that will bring all the public universities under a common law, and make the administration of the public universities less cumbersome.”
The President said a well-motivated and remunerated teacher was at the centre of the nation’s quality education and comprehensive teacher policy.
He said this had started with the upgrading of the initial teacher education certificate to degree status, and the move to put the teaching profession up there with other professions in terms of respect and exclusivity.
He said currently, many teachers who completed the three-year Diploma in Basic Education at the colleges of education went on, later, to do a two-year top-up first degree, by distance learning, at the University of Cape Coast.
This means that in addition to the extra amount of money spent on getting a degree, it would take them not less than five years to get one.
President Akufo-Addo said with the introduction of the four-year Bachelor of Education Degree, teacher trainees would now obtain their first degree at the end of their schooling, which would ensure that they entered the teaching service as university graduates.