Former Minister of Education, Prof. Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang, has urged the government to accommodate views of teachers and headteachers in its policies in order to create a stable education system in Ghana.
According to her, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration was largely successful in its educational policies because it accommodated divergent opinions and suggestions from stakeholders.
Addressing students and lecturers at a lecture series organised by the NDC at the University of Cape Coast on the State of Education in Ghana, the first female Vice-Chancellor in Ghana said education was about linking minds, tolerating and respecting dissenting views.
She said descending hard on people who express dissenting views was bad for the progress of education in Ghana.
Referring to some occurrences under her leadership as Education Minister in the NDC administration, she said even in the face of untruths, her administration kept cool and handled the situations without victimising teachers and other education stakeholders.
“When some were pretending there was no chalk in the class, or conniving with others to make children lay on the floor of the classroom when in some cases there was furniture available; when some pressmen and women ignored the new classrooms and showed pictures of the dilapidated one which had been abandoned as the space where children were learning, our solution was not to flex muscles, bark make people older than us kneel and apologize simply for expressing sensible alternatives,” she said.
She said the NDC created, adopted, practised and maintained an atmosphere of tolerance and at no point did their administration dismiss a head teacher or teacher for expressing dissenting opinions.
On schools under trees, she asks, “where are those who made donations to schools where children were supposedly seen laying on their stomachs and writing.”
Prof. Naana Opoku-Agyeman says it sad to learn that over 700 trained and certified teachers failed the sit-down Licentiate exams and therefore have become unemployable, according to the manner of implementation of the standards.
“A government that cares about the youth begins by giving the youth the opportunity to acquire skills that lead to economic independence, but guess what, the students fell in love with free allowance and now are faced with options that were not made clear to them,” she stated.