Quality education churns out knowledge, skills and attitude that allow for effective functioning of the individual in society and in life. Learners’ performances in Ghana are usually assessed using models, such as the Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA), Early Grade Mathematics Assessment (EGMA) and WAEC’s tests for students at the basic and senior high schools.
EGRA Report (2013) revealed that only 2% of pupils at the primary level can read with comprehension. It is a sad exposé and it also confirms why Northern Region scored 39 per cent and 20 per cent (from A1 to C6) at WAEC’s basic and senior high school examinations in 2015 respectively.We should not just be worried but also work out effective remedial plans together.
Meanwhile, Government, through the GETFund, provided 20,000 students’ mattresses, 10,000 bunk beds, 500 office tables and chairs, 5,000 tables and chairs for students, and 10,000 mono and dual desks to schools in 2015. This and other facilities are needed to boost education; North calls on Government, corporate agencies and individuals to continue to come to its aid.
Stakeholders, at the recent annual Northern Region Education Review meeting in Tamale, commended our governments for having made moves to sustain the welfare of the Ghanaian child. They mentioned social interventionschemes like school feeding, free distribution of school uniforms and exercise books as powerful packages for increasing school enrollments and for retaining pupils in school.The Northern Regional Director of Education, Alhaji Mohammed Haroon Cambodia, who chaired the function, implored parents, teachers and stakeholders to endeavour to support child education at all times.
How do we talk of quality education minus the teacher? Society sees and expects the teacher to be the leader in efforts at providing quality education to the child. This write-up seeks to discuss teacher presence, teacher preparedness and teacher delivery as essentials of good education.
It is good news for a school to have teachers. Teacher presence looks at the availability of the teacher to teach. The Ghana Education Service values highly this component of the education delivery chain. It is for this reason that the Service tries to ensure that qualified personnel are dispatched to all schools to teach. But the fact also is that most teachers in the North still commute from long distances to schoolresulting in lateness, irregularity and absenteeism, most often than not . The regional directorate needs everybody on board to help these ‘suffering’ teachers of ours. Our circuit supervisors also need same support to effectively reach out to the schools.
The policy of staff rationalization is being pursued vigorously. Teachers are being posted and redistributed to all districts and schools of need. We urge teachers and staff to support the system for things to work well. Let us respect the needs of our pupils and be willing to honour them with the best of service as teachers.
There is a world of difference between teacher presence and teacher preparedness. As teacher presence connotes just the physical presence of the teacher in school at the right time, teacher preparedness combines the presence with the preparation of vital instructional instruments, including schemes of work and lesson notes. The monitoring reports of districts in the region record low scores for teacher preparedness. Lessons are generally scanty in nature or not being delivered by some teachers at all. The least said about the use of teaching and learning materials (TLMs) in lessons, the better. We agree that schools need textbooks and syllabuses but teachers should also learn to improvise. The incessant excuses of no TLMs must stop! I also hold the view that a teacher, who is present in school but not prepared to teach, is as bad as the absentee teacher. We must always be at school and be prepared to teach and teach it well.
The teacher delivery component sums up the factors of teacher presence and teacher preparedness. Delivery is an important part of the teacher’s duty, where knowledge, skills and attitudes are supposed to be churned out to the child at the right time. The impact of any lesson delivery reflects in the performance of the learner. If the axiom of garbage-in, garbage-out is anything to go by then your guess is as good as mine talking about the performance of pupils and students at the various exit points of formal school education in the country, and North to be precise.
Who says education is only for the teacher to give? Parents also give it and they must be prepared to do it always. The child spends just eight hours out of 24 hours in school. Parents and relatives indulge in educational activities with their wards and learners at home. Proper supervision and monitoring within the remaining 16 hours or so of children’s stay at home is needed for enhanced performance. Society should join hands with the school to tackle matters of child delinquency, child marriage and teenage parenthood, which are rife here at North. We must develop just like our brothers and sisters down South.
By Kanzoni Awaala Donald
The writer is the Northern Regional Public Relations Officer of the Ghana Education Service.
Reviewed by Anthony Kwaku Amoah, an educationist and public relations officer at the Headquarters of the Ghana Education Service.