‘Teacher Don’t Teach Me Nonsense’

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God will never forgive my teachers who taught me that the word ‘artiste’ refers to a female artist. Today, I had to pay hugely for arguing blindly with friends…. Crying, not for how much I spent, but for the shame…. this is what a friend posted on his facebook wall.

When I chanced upon this status post on Facebook, I called a friend, read out the status and we shared a decent laugh while trying to imagine what exactly may have happened in his case.

My friend was magnanimous enough to also share similar errors.

There was this song I heard some time ago, which said teacher don’t teach me nonsense. Growing up, we used to share this joke among friends and that is, if you can’t teach them, confuse them.

My generation is one of the last that witnessed a sane post-primary public educational system. Sane here is used comparatively. The public education system had its last fall around the year 2000 and it has since not been helped back on its feet 13 years after.

Over 182,000 pupils who sat for this year’s Basic Education certificate Examination failed one or more core subjects and were not placed in any Senior High School (SHS) by the computerized school selection system.

However, Public Relations Officer of the Ghana Education Service, Charles Parker Allotey, tells XYZ news there will be a second placement exercise to make room for pupils who failed in just one core subject.

“It’s so alarming that the GES have decided something about the situation. As a responsible institution, we would not want a situation where this high number will not qualify and they would have to work on the street. We have to look at the human factor here and solve the problem,” he said.

However, an educationist, Kwame Gyasi, believes the solution lies in a total change in the way core subjects are taught in schools.

According to him, the GES could go further than just considering those with single failures. Kwame Gyasi blamed political interference in the education sector for the current crisis.

Nothing, in my judgement is worse than one seeing his or her future being frittered away under preventable circumstances. It’s like a father watching all his children pouched skilfully by death. But this is debatably the case with students in Ghana. There is a fast decent of the educational system into a calamity of catholic dimension and the major stakeholder – government; the Ghana Education Service (GES) seems disconcerted.

Whoever says we are sitting on a keg of gun power may not be telling us the truth. The real situation is that we have a fully loaded and properly serviced gun on our heads with our hands fidgety on the trigger. What kind of nation pays lips service to education, if not one ready to sell its future for a pot of porridge?

The massive failure we currently witness in the BECE exams would be child’s play if this is not arrested with deeply pragmatic measures.

A report on an Accra-based radio station on Monday, was so annoying and irritating that I almost threw my radio away. An unrepentant proprietor of a private school in the Central Region had the nerve to accuse the District Educational Director of bias, when she closed her school down for poor performance. According to the report the school had scored zero in BECE for three continuous years. That unfortunately is the state of our education.

I recall the quality of teachers that were available then. Teacher training colleges have becomes the last resort for many people who fail to gain admission to the university and polytechnics. Most of the products of the Training Colleges, who are to teach the future leaders of this country, are themselves illiterates.

I was particularly happy when the government decided to scrap teacher trainee allowance. At least they should also take loans as other students from other higher Institutions of learning do.

The sector Minister, Prof. Naana Jane Mensah, who herself has spend all her life teaching, is in support of government decision. This is what she said “We don’t want people to go into colleges of education because there is free money … and we don’t want people to go into colleges of education because it is just a stop gap and then when they get something better they leave but we want people to come here because teaching is a good profession”. Thank you madam.

I was so sad when the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), decided to wade into the issue, telling government to rescind that decision. Interestingly, the only time you will hear GNAT speak is when it has to do with the welfare of their members, but not that of the student.

Education, the sound type is the only hope the child of the poor man has to a good life. It’s the least the society can give all.
The current system, as I mentioned earlier, where teachers in public school are those who have tried every other option but failed and opted for teaching will take us nowhere.

A system where teachers are poorly remunerated and paid late is not in the interest of the students. A society that cares less about school infrastructure and welfare of students but is ready to build mansions and feed annually with billions of Ghana cedis on unnecessary ventures would never likely have a bright future.

A society where quality education is now available almost only in private schools and expensive ones at that is not ready to be called a middle income country. One look at the curriculum, teachings and methods of some private schools and you will know that the interest is solely money making. But why not, after all the end they say justifies the means. For as long as the students are passing and getting admission to the elite schools, parents would always be happy to pay more.

Education was lovely in the late 90’s. I have heard more astounding testimony from my older brothers and sisters, who witnessed the landscape much earlier. As for our father, I think during their time they were educated, we were taught and our children are being confused.

There were also a thousand and one competitions to aspire to. The Brilliant Science and Maths Quiz, sponsored by Unilever Ghana Limited, was one of such and a number of us were so proud when our schools take part and qualify to the finals, we will always converge at the venue during vacations to cheer our school on, not to forget the debate competition then.

The multinationals would rather sponsor show-biz related programmes as their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

I guess they are following the body language of the government. Let it be said that no nation becomes developed by entertainment. They are secondary matters.

The few educational ones available have been taken off air. What happened to what do you know? There is practically nothing for the young ones to look up to except entertainment in form of music and beauty pageants!

It’s 7; 30 pm on Sunday evening and as I cross the t’s and dot the i’s of this article, my television from one station to another is busy showing entertainments progranmes, from MTN Hitmaker, to Ghana’s Most Beautiful, to Vodafone Icon, Glo X-factor etc. Telecommunication companies must please refocus.

Let’s not forget that out of this population failing BECE today would emerge teachers of tomorrow. What future do our children have then? We are really sitting on a time bomb, it is just a matter of time until it explodes.

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