Problems Facing Education Development In Ghana

Professor Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang
Professor Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang

Just as the physical and social development of the average child is beset with many problems, so the development of education in any given society is hampered by a variety of problems, some of which are associated with the responsibility for and control of the society’s education, the diversification of the educational system, the need to relate the schools’ curricula to national man-power needs, and the society’s economy. All these problems are retarding the pace of educational development in Ghana today.

Professor Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang
Professor Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang

Because of the need for schools and colleges to meet the requirements of certain examining bodies, Ghana educational institutions, particularly at the pre-tertiary level have to change their syllabuses from time to time Even when the national subject curricula are constant for some years, the school subject syllabuses are subject to change or modification by teachers, particularly where subject teachers are changed frequently. This is particularly the case with rural schools where teachers frequently ask for transfer to urban primary or secondary schools. In effect, rural schools are usually filled with itinerant teachers: Youth-Coopers, fresh graduates on national service or other categories of newly-employed teachers who have no other option. The tendency for these categories of teachers is usually to modify the syllabus to embody their newly acquired knowledge.
Teaching staff In Ghanaian primary and secondary schools today, the problem is no longer that of unavailability, but that of instability. This doesnot help the development of the education system. Because of the comparatively poorer conditions of service of teachers In the Ghanaian society, the tendency for many teachers in the nation’s schools today, as was the case with their predecessors in late colonial and independent Ghana, Is to use the teaching profession as a stepping stone to other highly esteemed and more attractive jobs. In consequence, teaching is gradually becoming a profession for fresh graduates of Universities and Colleges of education who are ready to call it quit, without provocation, as soon as they find greener pastures elsewhere. From time to time, therefore, the teaching staff In Ghana educational Institutions is usually unstable. Consequently, the teaching-learning process in stalled everywhere. Unless the conditions of service of teachers, at all levels, are Improved and their status raised higher in the Ghanaian society, the teaching staff of our educational institutions, including the universities, shall continue to be unstable and educational progress shall continue to be retarded; but this must not be so for a country that is virtually ready to take a plunge into a world of science and technology!
Another major problem of educational development in Ghana today is that of providing funds for the Implementation of government policies on education and carrying out curriculum innovations in various disciplines and at various levels of education. The National policy on Education, for example has not been fully implemented. ‘Many schools have not got adequate supply of equipments and personnel, particularly for the teaching of such subject as Introductory Technology. Further, curriculum Innovation has not got adequate attention and sponsorship by Government because funds are not usually available. For example, to introduce a new curriculum, a number of workshops must be held In order to bring together experts in all fields of learning. The results of the deliberations by these experts must be widely published to afford members of the public the opportunity of following the new trends in the development of education in their own country. To teach a new curriculum at all levels of education, the teachers or instructors currently employed by the Government have to receive further training in teaching the new body of knowledge. In addition, new experts have to be trained locally or abroad while some experts have to be recruited from abroad insuch disciplines where no qualified Ghanaians are yet available. All these projects depend on the availability of funds. The picture today is that funds are not sufficiently available for the kinds of curriculum innovation activities described above.
In a majority of Ghanaian secondary schools, the classroom accommodation is grossly inadequate. As a result of the large enrolments in these schools, the classrooms are usually overcrowded, with up to sixty or more students receiving instructions in classrooms designed for only thirty or, forty students. In most cases, the chairs and desks are not enough; you see them sharing chairs, standing up, or sitting on windows or broken desks! When students are overcrowded like this, there is a stalling of the teaching-learning process and a disruption of the children’s mental activity, ‘a situation that generally militates against effective teaching and intellectual development of the children.
For effective teaching and learning, well equipped laboratories and subject rooms are needed; but the truth is that a majority of Ghanaian secondary schools today lack these essential facilities many schools and colleges have buildings that they call libraries, but most of these are not equipped with essential books and current journals and magazines. Also, many schools and colleges do not have science laboratories while a good number of those that have, do not possess the basic tools or equipments as microscopes, dissecting instruments and specimens. Also, many schools do not have “special rooms for teaching such basic subjects as history, geography and French. In such a situation as this, the teachers cannot put in their best; and the students, too, cannot derive maximum benefit from the instruction being given. Again, the teaching-learning process is stalled and the overall development of the children, within the school system is retarded.
In order to remove some of the major problems of educational development in Ghana,the issue of responsibility and control must be resolved and a uniform system of education introduced and operated nation-wide. This would mean the abolition of the present school system whereby children of the privileged class attend special schools. Further, special concession should be granted to Ghanaian educational institutions to import books, stationeries and other educational equipments, duty-free. Also, Ghanaian publishers and printing industries should be allowed to Import newsprint and other materials needed for book production without paying any import duties. The cost of books would thus be reduced. All schools should be provided with adequate equipments and facilities for teaching and learning. Additionally, frequent changes of subject syllabuses should be discouraged while teachers of all categories should be encouraged to remain in the same school for many years so that a tradition of teaching and learning could be established in each school.

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