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Stop swinging SHS education policy – Prof Yankah

May 9, 2016, 9:39 a.m.

Professor Kwesi Yankah, the Vice-President of Central University, has urged politicians to stop varying senior high school (SHS)

education policy hastily and focus on addressing systemic social disparities challenging the country’s education sector.

The erratic change of policy, driven largely by partisan political motives, he said, undermined progressive and quality academic performance among students, with candidates from less endowed schools being the most affected.

Professor Yankah, who gave the recommendation during the occasional lecture of Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences, said repeated modification of the policy, without regard to significant national needs, negatively affected quality workforce and productivity.

The lecture, on the topic ‘The Three-Four-Year School Pendulum; Towards a Stable Public Policy on Senior High School Education in Ghana,’ attracted policymakers, politicians, academia, students and a host of education actors.

“Swings in the senior high school education policy must stop and give way to flexible policy where options are exercised and yields to the individual and education needs,” Professor Yankah said.

“As a nation, we are hurting every passing day and governments sometimes with mere party manifestoes capriciously fiddle with our policy, and the children in less endowed or privileged schools are the most victims and our human resource base suffer,” he said.

He said although course duration was one of the greatest factors that determined SHS candidates’ performance at the West African Senior Secondary School Examination level, there were other multiple factors that undermined performance of candidates.

Prof Yankah said elements such as infrastructure, learning facilities, teacher motivation and quality of basic schools were issues that ought to be considered to bridge the academic performance gap between deprived and better endowed schools.

“There is a clear lack of equity in education quality, leading to high differential outcomes in learning and academic abilities,” he said.

Prof Yankah said: “Policy agenda that ensures an inbuilt flexibility towards public examinations in high schools should be part of our arsenal in fighting to reduce systemic inequalities in ensuring greater social justices.”

He said the three-year SHS education policy better flourished among schools endowed with better education resources while the four-year was more inclusive, and acknowledged all the inequities in the system which could not be remedied by one straight forward policy.

Prof Yankah recommended a flexible system where students from better endowed schools or educational institutions could exercise the option to do a full four-year or three-year programme.

“The flexible start will enable significant differentials among students in the first year to be addressed over the period before they progress to the second year, where more focused teaching is done,” he added. 


Disclaimer: The views expressed in this news report do not necessarily reflect the position of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC)