First, the Act established Local Education Authorities within Local Authorities and entrusted them with the responsibility.
The second important feature of the 1961 Act was the fact that it made education compulsory. Section 2(1) states that:
“Every child who has attained the school-going age as determined by the Minister shall attend a course of instruction as laid down by the Minister in a school recognised for the purpose by the Minister.”
A third equally important aspect of this Act was its provision for free education. Section 20(2) stipulated:
“No fee, other than the payment for the provision of essential books or stationery or materials required by pupils for use in practical work, shall be charged in respect of tuition at a public primary, middle or special school.”
Soon after coming into office in 1966, the Government of the National Liberation Council (NLC), appointed an Education Review Committee “to examine the problems arising from the Programme of National Research and make recommendations for improvement.”
The Review Committee’s proposals covered a wide range of issues concerning education from primary to university levels.
Its recommendations on the structure of education were largely an endorsement of the policies already existing. The highlights were as follows:
- The school-going age should be six years.
- Elementary education should have a duration of ten years with a break at the end of the eighth year for selecting those suitable for secondary education.
- After this selection, the remaining middle school pupils should complete their elementary education by attending for two years pre-vocational continuation classes where these are available; otherwise the pupils should continue the study of the ordinary school subjects for the two remaining years.
- Two-year pre-vocational continuation classes patterned on the industrial and farming needs of the country should be established in two middle schools of each region to serve as a pilot scheme.
- The secondary school courses should have a duration of five years, at the end of which suitable pupils may proceed to a two year sixth form course.
- The first-degree course at the university should be of three years’ duration (four years or more for specialized courses).
The Committee also proposed for a long-term plan a six-year primary school course followed by four years of secondary school education, with two years of sixth form work leading to a three-year university degree.
Within this long-term plan, pupils who could not enter secondary school after the primary school course would have to attend continuation classes for four years.
On the content of elementary education, the committee recommended the following subjects: a Ghanaian Language, English, Mathematics, History, Geography, Civics, Science, Music, Art and Craft, Physical Education, Religious Instruction and Housecraft.
Thus, by the end of the 1960s, the structure and content of education in Ghana largely remained a heritage of the pre-independence era: long and academic. The National Liberation Council experimented with the 8-year primary course at the end of which pupils who did not gain admission into secondary or equivalent level schools either attended pre-vocational continuation classes to predispose them to suitable occupations in industry and farming, or continued the study of the general subjects in school.
Among the subjects studied were woodwork, masonry and agriculture.
Public desire for change reached a high point in the 1972-74 period with the development in 1974 of an elaborate programme for education from Kindergarten through Primary and Junior Secondary to Senior Secondary Schools.
The proposals in the document “The New Structure and Content of Education for Ghana” which was the report of the Dzobo Committee, were discussed nationwide and subsequently approved by Government for implementation. Consequently, the Ghana Education Service was established in 1974, principally to ensure the effective implementation of the New Structure and Content of Education.
The 1974 reform of education introduced the Junior Secondary School concept. It stressed the educational importance of a curriculum which predisposed pupils to practical subjects and activities by which they would acquire occupational skills at school and, after a little further apprenticeship, become qualified for gainful self-employment. The implementation of this reform began on an experimental basis. New subjects were introduced for the first time.
They included Technical Drawing, Tailoring, Dressmaking, Metalwork, Automobile Practice, Woodwork, Masonry and Catering.
However, due to the economic constraints that faced the country in the late 1970s, bureaucratic bottlenecks and sheer lack of interest and commitment from administrators, the new programme never went beyond the experimental stage. There was stagnation and near demise of the experimental JSS system.
By 1983 the education system was in such a crisis that it became necessary for a serious attempt to be made to salvage it. Among the many problems of the system were lack of educational materials, deterioration of school structures, low enrolment levels, high drop-out rates, poor educational administration and management, drastic reductions in Government’s educational financing and the lack of data and statistics on which to base any planning.
REFORMS MADE IN THE 80’S
From the early seventies to the mid eighties, Ghana experienced a serious national economic decline which affected all social sectors.
Along with other sectors, the education system was starved of both human and material resources. In the early eighties, Ghana embarked on a series of IMF structural adjustment programmes under which the government mounted reforms in all social sectors. The Education Sector Adjustment Credit (EdSAC) became operational with the help of development partners notably the World Bank, the Department for International Development (then the ODA) and grants from other friendly countries.
This program aimed at arresting the decline of the education sector. Under EdSAC, a review of the Dzobo Report was undertaken by the Evans Anfrom Committee in 1986 and the resulting proposals implemented in 1987. Some of the principles which formed the basis of the reform were the importance of education for all, the need for education to be relevant to professional employment opportunities, and the importance of scientific and technological education to national development.
The major considerations for the restructuring of pre-university education in 1987 thus included the need to increase resources to the sector, to vocationalize education by shifting emphasis from an academic orientation to a more practical, technical one, and to reduce the cost of education by shortening the statutory period of pre-university schooling. In brief, the education reform had the following objectives:
- To increase access to basic education;
- To change the structure of pre-university education from 6:4:5:2 to 6:3:3 i.e. from 17 years to 12 years;
- To make education cost-effective and achieve cost recovery, and be able to sustain the reform program after the adjustment period;
- To improve the quality of education by making it more relevant to socio-economic conditions.
As a result of the reforms, the Junior Secondary School structure was put in place nationwide. This meant that the 6 years of primary school and 3 years of junior secondary school were consolidated into a uniform and continuous 9-year free and compulsory basic education. The length of the school year was increased from 32-35 weeks to 40 weeks to compensate for the reduction in the years spent at pre-university level.
The reforms also brought about revisions in syllabuses and provision of educational resources ranging from infrastructure such as classroom blocks and libraries, to school supplies such as books and technical skills equipment.
New Senior Secondary Schools were built to absorb the expected increases in enrolment. To improve the management of the education system, District Education Offices were upgraded with the appointment of Directors and Circuit Supervisors, and the supply of logistics such as vehicles, to enhance their management activities. Qualified teachers were appointed to head basic schools. The implementation of the 1987 education reforms was supported with some other interventions.
ICT in education
Computer technology used for teaching and learning began to receive governments’ attention in the past decade. The ICT in Education Policy of Ghana requires the use of ICT for teaching and learning at all levels of the education system. Attempts have been made by the Ministry of Education to support institutions in teaching of ICT literacy. Most secondary, and some basic, schools have computer laboratories. Despite the interest in ICT, computers are very limited and are often carried around to insure that they do not get stolen
A recent study on Pedagogical integration of ICTs from 2009-2011 in 10 Ghanaian schools indicates that there is a gap between the policy directives and actual practices in schools. The emphasis of the official curricula is on the development of students’ skills in operating ICTs but not necessarily using the technology as a means of learning subjects other than ICTs. The study also found that the ministry of Education is currently at the stage of deployment of ICT resources for developing the needed ICT literacy required for integration into teaching/learning.
Curled from: politicalpola.wikifoundry, education.stateuniversity., wikipedia