Ghana: Jea Mills Lectures Held in Accra

A former Minister of Education, Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemanghas called for a long term educational development plan that focuses on peculiar situations to resolve challenges in the sector.

She said the long term plan, which would be aimed at reforming education in the country, should be hinged on research into an evaluation of previous reforms and how it was implemented.

The former Minister was speaking at the 7th John Evans Atta Mills Commemorative Lecture held in Accra yesterday.

Organised by the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) in collaboration with the University of Cape Coast and the government, it had the theme "Inclusive Education for Sustainable Development."

Without research into past reforms, Prof Opoku-Agyemang explained that any attempt to improve the sector would be "wasteful, unproductive, unresponsive and downright destructive."

She said "we need to find out how we run the system in the past and what has created the problems we now seek to rectify. This needs not take a lifetime."

A long term plan, she said, required that the country admit that the models it had been using all this while, which had been patched up, revised and reviewed, fine tuned and reshaped, have hardly served its purpose.

"We need a true paradigm shift that embraces all people on the margins and creates the environment that enables them to operate at the centre. It is the duty of us all to begin and sustain this process for true, palpable sustainable development," she added.

Should the country opt for a model that exists in another country, Prof. O Poku-Agyemang stated that, it was imperative to find out what occasioned that model, how it was evaluated and how the bottlenecks were removed as well as what researchers have said about thy option.

As a long term plan, she said, Ghana could also develop its own models to respond to peculiar situations and further its development.

"Let us make education more experiential in its concept, methodology and evaluation. Such may help us remove rite learning," the former Minister added.

Although all educational disciplines were critical in driving society forward, she said the teaching and learning of mathematics and science, which were key areas should be enhanced and strengthened.

As a developing country, she said it was time the country focuses on improving the delivery of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) which provides the skills and know-how to resolve development challenges.

"We must take TVET much more seriously than we tend to do by avoiding the wrongful perception that it is the preserve of those who cannot meet academic standards. It is classist, self-defeating, exclusionist and an effective way of leaving many behind," Prof Opoku-Agyemang stated.

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