Ideally, providing equality of opportunity is not an option but a legal requirement for every country that have a long -term vision. A country’s future economic backbone relies on education of its youths and young people. This is because education provides children with opportunities to escape poverty, gain a voice in their community and experience a better quality of life. Yet world wide there are still more than 120 million children who are denied this opportunity.
In Ghana our educational system based on a two to four system. Those in the fourth tier are those from poorer families whose parents are unable to pay school fees or buy supplies. Many in these groups come from communities that often lack suitable school building and qualified teachers.
It appears the poorest children among us are denied the chance to have a learning and creativity safe environment. They are in a “catch 22 situation” often from families who need them on the farms or family run business just to survive. Why can’t our children enjoy the same equivalent to the form of education enjoyed in the 1960’s?
I find it ironic to believe that in a well developed country like the U.K child benefits is offered to every child plus free education, school trips. Ghana on the other hand, an under developed country has no child benefits system for its children, or housing benefit and I write some children to date are being educated under the trees in this 21st century Ghana.
For example, the child benefit was introduced in Britain in 1798 and later stopped but reintroduced in 1909. How could our system help poor families to help with Ghana economy?
What is stopping Ghana in addressing poverty within families and emulating this forward thinking attributes of British in eradicate child poverty. This approach from make a difference and give children and families a better chance in life.
Women in Ghana must campaign for financial assistance for children as a form of social support to families. With discovery of oil every must change with child benefits for every child to stop child labour activities.
Child benefits need to be introduced in Ghana. This is an option, which stop child maltreatment across Ghana. Ghana must lead the way to ease the long term suffering of children and families.
Reasons are as follows:
Report on Ghanaweb 5/7/11, 23.3% of children engaged in the hazardous activities in various sectors. When is Ghana going to strictly implement the national child labour policy? What strategies has the Ministry of employment and social welfare adopted to put in place a monitor, review and evaluate mechanisms to support its implementation strategies?
For example, child protection policies should be the standard practice in all our institutions where children are involved. This includes the police, schools, churches etc. People should be by the police to ensure their clean profile to be among children.
According to an article on ghanaweb 6/7/11 which reported that the former Education Minister, Mrs Betty Mould Iddrisu, highlighted that a total of five thousand schools hold classes under trees across the country. How long has Ghana been receiving the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) and the rest from the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) resources? Ghana has been receiving such funds since 2003. Where does children in Ghana and many African countries rights fall in this circumstances?
Over the decades various Governments in Ghana failed Ghanaian children, and young people apart from our late President Kwame Nkrumah who himself saw the benefits of what education brings to the individual. Late President Nkrumah like President Obama both escaped from the poverty through their education. The biographies of these two people are very inspirational for any youth with a vision to transform.
How could any Education Minister allow under the tree the education to continue in our present day Ghana? Is this form of education not denying children their right of being educated in purposeful classrooms with purposeful playgrounds?
Ghana has no child protection policies for institutions to abide by and therefore our children are being neglected under the child protection category neglect and physical abuse. Some are even sexually and emotional abused by teachers and parents yet it seems O.K to continue these abuses in our society.
Most of these children are not only powerless, voiceless given their situation but also classified within our society as under class and looked down upon in this our adult controlled selfish environment of ours. When would Ghana education system adopt the unannounced school inspection visits?
This why I have decided devote time and one of my skills as specialist community practitioner to write thought provoking articles in their defence.
Ghana educational system should seriously also adopt “Ofsted” which means (Office for Standards in Education, Children’s services and Skills) currently used in the British educational system. In the Britain the role of the “Ofsted” is as follows:
In Britian schools are inspected to provide information to parents and carers, to promote improvement and, where applicable, to hold schools to account for the public money they receive. School inspections are required by law. Each council provide an independent assessment of the quality and standards of education in schools, and check whether pupils are achieving as much as they can.
When schools are notified of their inspection, they are asked to provide the inspectors with some information before the inspection begins. This may include an evaluation of their provision, if available.
Before they arrive at a school inspectors analyse the information provided by the school and other information that Ofsted already holds or is publicly available. When they arrive, they talk to the headteacher, governors (in maintained schools), staff, pupils, parents and carers. They also observe a range of lessons and consider the effectiveness of key leaders and managers. This is worth emulating in Ghana because this system ensures that standards are met.
How do inspectors assess a school?
When a school is inspected , inspectors adhere to the following guidance, which shows how the general principles and processes are applied to inspections, including the judgements that are made and how inspectors undertake their work:
• The framework for school inspection, which applies to the inspection of maintained schools and several other types of school
• The framework for non-association independent school inspections
• The framework for inspecting boarding and residential provision in schools.
Inspecting initial teacher education in schools
The approach inspect all accredited providers of initial teacher education (ITE) leading to qualified teacher status (QTS) and publicly funded training of further education teachers.
There are programme on Raiseonline ( this is an online form of teacher updating training) which helps teachers to update themselves to help pupils to attain and achieve their full potential. Is there any way Ghana could also invest into this to improve our educational standards?
This systematic approach not only enhanced the standards of education throughout Britain but also encourages best practice in all schools.
Parents in Ghana are unable to sue the Government to challenge under the tree form of education. It appears the practice has been endorsed by our educational system anyway. Parents from this group are not empowered to act in this strategic route and go to UNICEF or Human rights with the breakdown of their bills on hospital bills etc incurred as a result of the negligence of a Government to provide a safe environment for children to learn.
What is the plight of a qualified teacher teaching in these circumstances? How can he/she motivate and encourage his /her pupils. During the heavy raining season these children miss school and school absence becomes the norm due to the negligence of the Education Ministry in providing a better infrastructure This is why I would strongly recommend that the Education Minister have a day experience with the children schooling under trees in Ghana.