GHANA EDUCATION SYSTEM

AN OBITUARY OF THE GHANA EDUCATION SYSTEM-BY ADAMS SABOGU


In loving memory of the Ghana Education System, I bring you warm greetings from my reflection corner. Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, I invite you to join me observe A MINUTE SILENCE FOR OUR EDUCATION SYSTEM…………… MAY ITS SOUL REVIVE IN TIME, AMEEN? By the time you finish reading this piece, it is my hope that we will all be thinking of how we can get out of this deep ditch and also pray for the bewildering generation. Indeed, the mantra that began so cheerfully at the onset of this era turns out to be really an obituary of our education system – no longer the key to success but a poison to our social fabric.
Claud Witz argues that the most effective way in bringing down an entire generation without using a gun is by attacking its center of gravity. These centers of gravity that would shape in orchestrating a country’s downfall from within are its perception of truth, its future generations, the political philosophy, and its sense of nationalism, and of course, the economy. To achieve this, the aggressor must vigorously pursue the following; shape truth by controlling the media, shape the future generations by controlling the schools: shape the political philosophy by infiltrating the government, shape the sense of nationalism by diluting the culture and the language and shape the economy through excessive spending, taxing and borrowing.
I will leave the others for another day but concentrate on the element of shaping the future generation by controlling the schools. I will demonstrate how our education system is being strangled in the George Floyd-like fashion to suffocate to demise. Never in our history has the teacher become so feeble to extent of not even having control of what he delivers for learning. The teacher and for that matter, heads of schools have now become poodles and subjects of political ball games. The teacher that used to be a major stakeholder has now become the stake and is now being held, from STAKEHOLDER TO HELDSTAKE.
The latest joke is this obnoxious thing they call PERFORMANCE CONTRACT for Basic School Heads. I am a Headteacher, nobody ever discussed anything with me about performance contract. Whilst I was enjoying my Founders Day Holiday in my holy village, I received a WhatsApp document on our circuit Head teacher’s platform with the instruction to print it, sign and submit same to my Circuit Supervisor now called SISO for onward transmission to the District Directorate the following day. I produce verbatim the contents and form of the so-called Performance Contract for your perusal.


PERFORMANCE CONTRACT

  1. PREAMBLE
    The key objectives of Ghana Education Service are to:
    i. Increase inclusive and equitable access to and participation in education at all levels
    ii. Ensure provision of life skills training and management of personal hygiene, family life, gender, health, HIV, etc.
    iii. Improve quality of teaching and learning, and
    iv. Improve management of education service delivery
    This Performance Contract has been signed to deliver the key outcomes of these objectives as well as achieving 2021 national targets as set by the Director-General.
  2. RATIONAL OF THE CONTRACT
    This CONTRACT dated …………………………. IN THE YEAR ………… shall operate for a period of ONE year between the Head teacher of ……………………………………………………. School on one part, the SISO of ……………………….……….. Circuit on second part and the District Director of ………………………………… District on the third part, to ensure the achievement of outputs/deliverables in fulfillment of the objective as indicated in paragraph 1 above.
  3. SPECIFIC OUTPUTS/DELIVERABLES
    3.1 Output/Deliverable by Head teacher
    The Head teacher shall be expected to deliver the outputs / deliverables resulting from the performance of the activities listed in the Summary Programmed of Work, Activity Costing Sheets, the Results Statement of the School and the National Targets set by the Director-General
    3.2 Output/Deliverable by SISOs
    The SISOs shall be expected to monitor and ensure that the schools in their circuits are delivering the outputs/deliverables resulting from the activities by the Head teachers listed in Clause 3.1 of this contract.
  4. MAJOR ASSUMPTIONS
    The major assumptions are as follows:
     Adequate and timely flow of financial resources
     No natural disasters
  5. OBLIGATIONS
    5.1 Head teachers
    The Head teacher accepts responsibility for the overall performance of the school. Any constraints in achieving the outputs/deliverables of the school should be made known to SISOs on regular basis.
    5.2 SISOs
    The SISO accepts responsibility for the overall performance of the schools in their circuits. Any constraints in achieving the outputs/deliverables of the schools in their circuits should be made known to District Directors
  6. MONITORING AND EVALUATION
    6.1 By SISOs: Performance of the Head teacher will be monitored throughout the year and evaluated at the end of the contract period. Head teachers whose output achievement rates are high will be considered for Merit Awards. Low performance achievers will be sanctioned.
    6.2 By District Directors: Performance of the SISOs will be monitored throughout the year and evaluated at the end of the contract period. SISOs whose output achievement rates are high will be considered for Merit Awards. Low performance achievers will be sanctioned.
  7. ENDORSEMENT OF CONTRACT
    a) …………………………………………………………………………………
    Name of Head teacher
    ………………………………………………………………………………….
    Name of school
    ………………………………………………………………………………….
    Signature
    ………………………………………………………………………………….
    Date
    b) ………………………………………………………………………………….
    Name of SISO
    ………………………………………………………………………………….
    Name of Circuit
    ………………………………………………………………………………….
    Signature
    ………………………………………………………………………………….
    Date
    c) ………………………………………………………………………………….
    Name of District Director
    …………………………………………………………………………………..
    Name of District
    …………………………………………………………………………………….
    Signature
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In fact, I have defaulted in subscribing to this joke for stated reasons. My decision to join the profession that will make me remain poor and never think of becoming a millionaire doesn’t mean I have surrendered my brain to be poor in thinking. I choose to use my intelligence and dignity as the “SOMETHING ELSE” contained in the President’s “Executive Instrument” which cemented the “CURSE” of teachers never to be “Millionaires” unless one engages in something else. This joke called a contract is something nobody has seen the headteacher as important to even discuss it with. Because our liberty has been so colonized as we are too dumb to be informed of the terms of the contract (see clause 3.1).
What are the expected outputs/deliverables referenced that the Headteacher shall be expected to deliver but should not be aware of before signing? How come we are going into a contract whereas a party we have no rights but only responsibilities and obligations? Why is the Headteacher being treated as a target of our broken policies? Why do you think Headteachers should board a vehicle that is on its wheels without an engine only to be sanctioned for not reaching your expected destination? You expect Headteachers to perform when their job is to supervise teaching and learning in schools that some teachers are even powerful than the District Directors, schools without textbooks, under trees, and with children always lying on the floor to learn.
I will further demonstrate why I think we are engaging in a comedy of errors in our education system and poisoning our future generation, hence the need for this obituary.

  1. New Curriculum Fiasco: We live in a country where a new curriculum was introduced for two years now without textbooks for our public schools whilst private schools are able to get them for children. We only priories overstocking our schools with tissues and liquid soap when we know very well most of these schools do not even have drinking water, less water for hand washing. Ironically, Junior High School teachers who are yet to be trained on the new curriculum like the primary counterparts are expected to implement the curriculum. Our schools are totally depleted of furniture and textbooks. The alternative is that government prefers supplying past examination questions. Only God knows whether we are interested in positive behavioral change as learning outcome or examination results.
  2. Despite the priority of government on exams, it is painful to note that the power of internal assessment as an important element of teaching and learning has been taken away. For two years now pupils have not been writing exams in public schools.
  3. Non-Payment of Capitation Grants: The meager capitation grants which are supposed to be paid to schools hardly comes. I head a JHS of over 200 pupils and from 2019 up to July, 2021, only GHC400.00 has been paid to my school accounts. This amount is unable to pay for compelling administrative expenses. Cost of transportation of PPEs alone since 2020 has taken more than the stated amount. All at the expense of the head teacher’s meager accounts. There are several expenses that are shouldered by these vulnerable head teachers.
  4. Unpredictable Calendar: We now live in a system where at the behest of some powers that be, academic calendar can be altered and vacation declared, mostly in the case of SHS. Junior High Schools now have the longest stay in schools. This comes with its attendant fatigue. Schools are now in session from July to December. I bet you, by October everybody will be tired and learning will be very ineffective. I dare say that whoever that brought this semester idea in the JHS system has cause a bit harm than good.
  5. Non-payment of Responsibility Allowance: The head teacher is always at the receiving end and yet nobody cares about his welfare. Several heads of schools have been in that position for years without responsibility allowance and yet they are expected to do the extra-ordinary. I was appointed head of Basic School when I was Principal Superintendent and was receiving responsibility allowance. I was promoted to the next rank effective 2017, but I was wickedly informed that my promotion was notational effective 2017 but substantively 2019. What it meant was that I would be placed on that rank from 2019. When I was put on that scale, the responsibility allowance was taken off and I only had a difference of GHC40.00 for my new rank. Since then I have not had this allowance restored and yet I spend on my salary to run the school.
  6. The gross disrespect for teacher’s right is something that is chocking many of us. Can you imagine that government is going to procure laptops for teachers and we have no choice of the brand and type? I have been able to buy an HP Laptop 15.6’’ core i5 for use. It would have been proper that the powers that be allows teachers to make their choices on specification just as in the case of car loans for parliamentarians.
  7. Above all, the seeming politicization of our education system is our bane. Directors and senior officers who are supposed to ensure smooth delivery of education outcomes are not immune from this political machinations. We have carried it through from the basic and climax it at the SHS. The Free SHS and its attendant challenges caused by this dirty politics is stinking. Many Headmasters are suffering and dying in silence. They are unable to feed the students but they can’t complain. Heads cannot have peace of mind due to persistent calls from suppliers.
    All these teething challenges among others are often overlooked, the poor teacher is the target because we have nobody to speak for us. Our unions have suddenly become organs under GES and cannot fight for us. They understand and care for the economy of Ghana than its managers. They can proudly settle for 4% salary increment while others can go for 70%+. After all, there is nowhere in the world teachers become millionaires.
    If we are a serious nation, we must do a wake keeping of our education system and think of rebirthing it. Until then we will continue to make mockery of ourselves. Sadly, the main focus of every teacher now is to defend his salary instead of justifying it. That explains why some would even hastily sign the so called death warrant called Performance Contract without reading to understand it.
    Let me reiterate that my choice of poverty should not be mistaken for choice of bondage, I remain a proud poor teacher insisting for my liberty. I join my brother Teacher Kwadwo in his campaign to #FIX GES
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Adams Sabogu
(0241222531)

SOURCEeducandghana.net
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