A NEW Education Reform Programme which introduced new structures in country’s educational system at various levels was launched in Accra yesterday by President J.A. Kufour.
Under the programme which takes effect from next September at the start of the new academic year, Universal Basic Education will now 11 years, made up if two years of kindergarten, six years of primary and three years of Junior High School (JHS).
The present three-year senior secondary school will become a four-year Senior High school (SHS).
The medium of instruction at the kindergarten and lower primary will be Ghanaian language and English, while at the basic level emphasis shall be on literacy, numeracy, creative arts and problem-solving skills.
The programme stipulates that after JHS, students may choose to go into different streams at SHS including General Education and Technical, Vocational and Agricultural Education (TVET) or enter into apprenticeship scheme with support from the government.
The SHS will offer general education with electives in General Business, Technical, Vocational and Agriculture options for entry into a tertiary institution on the job market.
Technical, vocational and agricultural institutions will also offer four-year courses including the core SHS subjects while greater emphasis will be placed on Information and Communication Technology (ICT), science and technology training as well as teaching and learning of French.
At the lower primary level the programme stresses the teaching of English and Ghanaian languages to incorporate concepts of religious and moral education, science, hygiene, life skills, civics and culture while at upper primary, the subjects will be the dominant Ghanaian language, English, basic mathematical skills, integrated science and citizenship education.
Physical education, music and dance, and other creative arts shall also be taught at the primary level.
At the JHS level, English, Mathematics, Social Studies, Integrated Science. Including agriculture, Ghanaian language, TVER, ICT and French shall be taught.
For the SHS the performance says the core subjects shall be English Mathematics, and Integrated Science, Social Studies and ICT. In addition to the core subjects candidates would be obliged to offer either Agriculture, Business, Technical Home, Vocational (Home Economics or Visual Arts), General Arts or General Science.
For the TVET stream of the SHS, the subject consists of Building Trades, Business Studies, Electrical Engineering, Hospitality Trades, Mechanical Engineering and Agriculture.
TVET is expected to provide employable skills through formal and informal apprenticeship in vocational, technical and agricultural institutes.
The programme envisages the establishment of a Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training to co-ordinate and regulate all aspects of TVET.
Also to be established are an independent National Inspectorate Board to formulate and enforce standards in all pre-tertiary schools a National Teaching Council to coordinate and regulate teacher education and training programme while education-oriented universities will be responsible for the certification of teachers.
Untrained teachers in basic schools would have access to remedial courses through distance education while pen universities and distance learning colleges would be established to retrain teachers.
Under the reforms, Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education (FCUBE) and cost-sharing at the SHS and tertiary levels have been maintained while educational services would be widened to include library and information, guidance and counseling, and distance education.
The Ghanaians Times - Thursday, April 12, 2007 - Page 1