Professor John Gatsi, Dean of Business Studies at the University of Cape Coast (UCC), has said that the management and delivery of quality second cycle education should not be the business of government alone.
Delivering the keynote address at the 70th anniversary of Keta Senior High Technical School (KETASCO) Professor Gatsi said quality second cycle education required the involvement of all stakeholders.
According to him, since government announced the free Senior High School programme, ” the entire second cycle education was treated as if the second cycle students have become the property of the government, and that parents and teachers do not have a say in how students are taught, where they are taught, what they eat, among others.”
He called for the separation of politics from the management of the schools.
“We know that targeting SHS students has implications for votes as many of them will qualify to vote by the time they are in their final years and first year in university and other tertiary institutions- However, quality educational implications will last longer when stakeholders play active roles,” he said.
The Professor who is an old student of KETASCO, said that managers of the country’s education “may design the mode, content, duration, pedagogical arrangements of second cycle education in Ghana but a measurable quality that will define the future contribution of graduates, to community and national development is a question of contribution by stakeholders and not government alone.
Professor Gatsi questioned the rationale behind the scrapping of Parent Teacher Association (PTA) dues as those played a pivotal role in helping in addressing some of the infrastructure challenges in the schools.
The Professor said however that accountability, and transparency by PTAs to their members are key requirements to keep members committed.
He recommended that PTA dues be paid directly into a dedicated bank account and should not be left to some ‘lone ranger honest person.’
He lamented the development where SHS two students had to be sent home on vacation after spending just 37 days in school.
“Recently, some of the SHS students spent 37 days in school and were asked to go on vacation for 56 days. Students were surprised because their teachers, headmasters and headmistresses were not aware.” he stressed.
“We used to have the concept of schools under trees. Now we have in addition to schools under trees in certain parts of the country, writing and learning on the floor, these pronounces inequality and inequity.”
“Also, the minimum acceptable standards of quality education will be achieved wherever the student is placed. The UN SDG4 focuses on inclusiveness and equitable quality education, and these are to promote lifelong learning opportunities for all,” he said.
Professor Gatsi said, Technology as promoter of quality education should be assessed and deployed.
He further said that teachers were an essential element in the chain of stakeholders. “Availability and acquaintance with the curriculum by the teachers are a key requirement to contribute to quality education. Contact hours students have with the teachers and the general environment provided for the teachers to deliver are required to ensure teacher productivity and quality delivery.
He said teachers are called upon to see their work not only as a job but as a calling to ignite commitment that would demonstrate to students that teachers are willing to help them achieve success.
He observed that teacher fatigue was killing many teachers slowly in many of the schools and insisted the adoption of a system that allows teachers to get enough rest.
He called on Ghanaian teachers to draw inspiration and lessons from the University of Cape Coast (UCC) anthem, that “teachers are the teachers of the nation, they learn to teach, they find and pass on, they counsel, they guide that all men may be enlighten, they are the bedrock of knowledge. They are the kindest of them all, they train, they mode to impact all virtues that Ghana may be strengthened.”
He further called on the teachers to rise to the call to step up their contributions to quality second cycle education
Professor Gatsi said academic knowledge is of less importance in the absence of appropriate value systems.
He advised students to shy away from indiscipline and other vices as that had the potential of tracking them down from the path of success.
The anniversary which brought together old students of the school, teachers, Parents, Chiefs and Elders of Keta and surrounding communities as well as representatives from sister Senior High Schools was marked under the theme: KETASCO at 70: Retrospect and Prospect.