Gov’t to scrap 7 subjects at the basic level

The Ministry of Education has recommended a drastic reduction in the aggregate of courses of study at basic schools to not more than five subjects, Deputy Minister Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has disclosed.

According to Mr. Ablakwa, the Ministry considers the current curricular at the basic level to be “too high.”

Basic Education in Ghana, which is free and compulsory, lasts 11 years. Pupils between age 4-15-years are mandated to learn at least 10- in some cases 12- subjects at that level.

These are:  English Language, Ghanaian Language and Culture, Social Studies, Integrated Science, Mathematics, Basic, Design and Technology, Information and Communication Technology, French (optional), Religious and Moral Education.

However, speaking on Ghana Connect Friday, on Joy FM, Mr. Ablakwa said the curricular is undergoing a thorough review in order to cut down on the number of subjects to at most five. A public announcement to that effect is likely to be made latest by the end of September, he stated.

President of the Ghana Mathematics Society, Prof. Sitsofe Anku who featured on the programme had expressed worry about the number of courses taught at the basic level, thereby leaving pupils with little or no time to put to practice what they learnt in the classroom. 

He, therefore, suggested the general review of the curricular to suit the geographical location of schools where pupils can readily find time to rehearse what they are taught when school is not in session.

“We make things look like there is no time because of the way things are structured. But there is a lot of time wasted; before you go and start the class you spend about 10 minutes to settle; the period is 30 minutes, and then you teach for 15 minutes, and it’s about time to go. How much are you going to do with these 15 minutes?”

The Deputy Minister in a response said the Professor’s assessment of the situation reflected exactly that of the sector Minister, Prof. Naana Jane Opoku Agyemang, who has already tasked a committee to review the system.

“Indeed, these are views that we share at the Ministry [of Education], and my Boss has already put forward her proposal. She doesn’t she doesn’t think there should be more than five subjects at the basic level [and that] the current 10 to 12 subjects are too high.

“She has left it for an independent committee…which is looking at the general curriculum and other pedagogical matters. We believe that by the end of this month [September 2014] we will make a pronouncement on this, and then we’ll call a larger stakeholders’ meeting on this.”

Mr. Ablakwa said government is “careful not to really tinker with the core issues which may unnecessarily distabilise the students in school” since the education system has already “seen too many reviews.”

The strategy this round is to commit stakeholders to sign an agreement, if reached, to compel future governments to uphold the standard, he added.

“After we’ve looked at all of these quality issues we will convene a stakeholders’ conference…and we hope that we will all sign a commitment that whichever forms a government in the near future will be able to maintain what has been agreed.”

  Story by Ghana | | Jerry Tsatro Mordy | [email protected]

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