Education system in Ghana since the attainment of the Fourth Republican dispensation, has undergone constant repairs and reshapes by political actors in this era of democratic paradigm. This effort by various governments as part of their policies to reshape the system of education, has invariably proven to be unpopular and unpromising. This is partly as a result of political schisms and inflexibility part of political parties policies, manifestos and ideologies which inadvertently proscribe adaptation and application of laudable policies formulated and put into praxis by ousted political party, which could have been an epoch-making, hence inhibits and abandons continuity of state developmental projects which has already quaffed state resources. If continuity in nation building in terms infrastructure, job opportunities and social intervention policies are viewed as giving acclamation to the erstwhile government and not seen as a common practice in our type of democratization, sabotage and vilification will always obscure and lead our sense of development hence mired us into intractable retrogression. continuity could save the nations' purse of considerable chunk of resources to combat and correct anomalies in other sectors of the country that need attention ,most importantly our education system. Uncompleted class room blocks built from state coffers by various former governments have invariably been left in the bushes to go waste in communities that are still under trees and in dire need to get rid of rain and direct sun tortures when learning under trees, yet extraneous funds from this same state coffers are raised in the name of fulfilling their policies proclaimed in their manifestos. The same structures of classroom blocks which have been left in the bush to go waste are put up, that a sense of continuity could have saved millions of cedis without necessarily wasting on similar project. Meanwhile the country has numerous episodes of schools still under trees, subjected under the control of rain and the sun, that these schools need to close anytime it rain or shine heavily, yet these schools have no desks for school children and the teachers to support the enhancement of teaching and learning. According to the report of VALCO trust fund to eradicate school under trees, a whooping amount of 3.5 billion needed to construct 5,403 schools which are currently operating under trees and other dilapidated ones.
However, on expedition to muddling through these hurdles with the aim of attaining standard education system in Ghana if not for the quality, then whereupon came the covid19 pandemic which has added to the woes and the fractured situation in our education system.
The closed down of schools in Ghana due to the covid19 pandemic with the aim to reduce constant contacts to minimize tendencies of being affected, created a new paradigm for students and teachers to move from classroom to virtual platforms, this paradigm shift in schooling system within the epoch of covid19 pandemic merited a rarefied group of people who had what it takes for participation. It was within the confines of those who had the requisite skills, devices, reliable medium, strong internet connectivity and internet data can participate. These are preconditional factors eligible to facilitate smooth participation of online teaching and learning. This situation degenerated the woes of the deprived communities and marginalized individual students who have not felt the comfort of a desk, lest to talk of E-learning.
The disheartening aspect of this is the degree of disparity that the pandemic in its peak brought to school children, especially between the government schools and the private schools, between deprived communities and schools in town and cities, between marginalized and privileged ones both in Junior High School and the Senior High school.
The directives of the government to put these children back to school after the mitigation of the pandemic spread, still put them under trees and glaring torture of the sun and unremitting flog of the rain which endangers their reading materials anytime it rains and constantly disrupts their instruction hours. These are citizens and future leaders who deserve better not such sadden situation which in no uncertain terms can be avoided.
The situation is worse when it comes to placement of trained professional teachers. Arguably, it is unjust and has always not balanced. Nobody relishes going to such deprived areas to work or teach looking at the underpinning challenges surrounding school under trees which are predominantly found at the rural areas. Apparently, nobody sees fire and put their hands in it unless something precious is spotted in the fire that is worth taking. So the argument why most trained teachers prefer cities to rural areas is this obvious reason inter alia. Why then should the government relent in providing access, quality and management as codified and contained in the Education strategic plan 2010-2020 as the main policy drivers determining priority intervention, fading into oblivion the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) and Education For All (EFA) which includes the provision of infrastructure, provision of capitation grant for primary schools, provision of free textbooks, free uniforms etc. have all fallen in shambles.
Education and development in Ghana and any part of the world is a bulwark and close tied and therefore quintessential to the socio-political and economic development of every nation. Therefore it behoves every government of Ghana who will be given the mandate to rule, should prioritize and advocate and put into action for quality education, eradicate avoidable challenges which destabilizes the progress of our education system in terms of incentives, motivation of teachers in rural areas, initiating programs and policies to eradicate schools under trees and provide logistics that will enhance standard teaching and learning which will set schools in cities and rural areas in certain equilibrium.
Ambrose Jackson (GIJ)