By Bajin D. Pobia
Wa, November 13 – 2014, -The blame game as to who is behind or causing the falling standards of education, continues to range on in Ghana without any concrete solution.
Parents blame government and teachers for not providing quality education to their children, government blames teachers for not doing much in the provision of quality education, and teachers are not happy that government is not providing the necessary teaching and learning materials adequately to help them to deliver quality education.
Teachers are also blaming parents for shirking their responsibilities towards the education of their children, and parents blame their children for not taking education seriously, while children blame their parents for not providing them with the necessary basic needs of education, to encourage them to increase their learning capacities.
In all of these, there are “two wise enemies” hiding elsewhere, and contributing immensely to the falling standards of education unnoticed. Nobody seems to notice the impact of the activities of these “two wise enemies” to education.
These “wise enemies” have for the past decades, ghosted in the name of national exercise or assignments, to engage the services of teachers.
Even though there are no statistics to support the argument, it is clear that many of the people being engaged by the Ghana Statistical Service and the Electoral Commission to carry out censuses and registration of voters and the supervision of elections for them, have always been teachers.
The cumulative effect of their activities is that it has impacted negatively on the standards of education today in Ghana.
The teacher’s contact hours with pupils or students are lost all in the name of national assignments.
The two institutions must stop engaging the services of teachers during elections and censuses.
Teachers have always been used to carry out censuses and electoral registration exercises on behalf of the two institutions to the detriment of their work in the classrooms.
It is worrying that anytime there is an upcoming census, and the opening of electoral registration exercises, the two institutions look nowhere to find workers, but engage teachers to do their work for them, forgetting that the teachers have work to do in their classrooms.
The practice has terrible impact on education and the ability of the Ghana Education Service to perform.
What is even more painful about these exercises is that, the two institutions are always congratulated for the good work done, but when standards of education start to fall, everybody, including the two institutions, blame teachers for the poor performance.
What is a more national assignment than the teachers work? Teachers who leave their classrooms for weeks, receive salaries for no work done, in addition to wages from these institutions.
It is clear that poor salaries and working conditions of teachers are the main motivators pushing them to readily accept to participate in all these exercises.
Government must pay teachers well, and stop pretending to be paying them well. If that is not done, teachers will always pretend to be teaching well, while in reality they are not.
The two institutions should not hold Ghana’s education for ransom.
Ghanaians need to address the lapses that are contributing to the falling standards of education now and forever.
Concrete measures should be put in place to stop government institutions from interfering with the work of teachers.
It is gladdening that in the last general elections, teachers were asked not to participate in the registration exercise, but that directive did not work, because some teachers still found their way into carrying out that exercise and also supervised the elections.
Besides the negative contributions of the two institutions, Ghanaians must also fight the negative political interests in education. The debate for three years and four years period for the senior high school must not be forced on the people by political parties.
Ghanaians must come out and take a decisive decision on the period needed for the senior high school, devoid of political interests.
This writer is aware that Ghanaians know between the three and four years, the one that is good for Ghana’s education but for political interests, many have taken sides, to the detriment of quality education.
The falling standards of education in Ghana should be of concern to all and meaningful efforts should be made to improve education, and not leave it to its fate, like the donkey to die of cold.
If that happens, parents will cry, teachers will be blamed, government will be cursed, and Ghana as a nation, will suffer all the consequences.