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4-Year SHS produces unprecedented results


4-Year SHS produces unprecedented results

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Information reaching the New Statesman indicates that the first batch of students who went through the four-year Senior High School system introduced by the

erstwhile Kufuor-led New Patriotic Party administration, and truncated prematurely by the Mills-Mahama led National Democratic Congress administration, in fulfillment of a partisan manifesto pledge, have recorded a very impressive results in the West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination they took in April-May, this year.

Our sources among members of the Conference of Heads of Assisted Senior Secondary Schools who corroborated the information said many schools across the country have produced results that are unprecedented since the inception of the Senior Secondary (now Senior High) School system.

Even though the full statistics of the results are yet to be made public by the West African Examination Council, many teachers the New Statesman has contacted say the results of their schools are devoid of the usual abysmal performance often associated with some core subjects, especially English Language, Mathematics and Integrated Science.

“The results of my students are just fantastic and both the students and their parents are overwhelmed with joy. So far the results my students have accessed through the internet indicate that even the weak ones obtained at least C6 in my subject,” Dennis Kwakwa, a Biology teacher at the Kumasi Girls Senior High School, told the New Statesman at the weekend.

The results come as a vindication of the wisdom in the decision by the previous Kufuor-led New Patriotic Party administration to extend the duration of the SHS programme from three years to four years.

On the other hand, the results come as an embarrassment for the incumbent Mills-Mahama led National Democratic Congress government that intractably disregarded expert advice to allow the new system to run for some time  and went ahead to revert it to three years, against the wishes and aspirations of majority of Ghanaians.

Acting on expert, professional  advice, the Kufuor administration extended the duration of SHS from three years to four years, as part of the 2007 educational reforms arising our the work carried out by the Anamuah-Mensah Committee.

The decision of the Kufuor administration was supported by both the Conference of Heads of Assisted Senior Secondary Schools and the Conference of Heads of Private Second Cycle Schools, as well as overwhelming Ghanaians, especially students, teachers and parents who are the major stakeholders of education.

The Mills-Mahama led NDC government, upon assumption of office, however, took what many described as a partisan decision to revert the four-year duration to three years, ostensibly to fulfill a manifesto promise.

Even though the decision was met with a lot of opposition from majority of Ghanaians, going by the public debate of the issue, President Mills and his government remained adamant in their resolve to fulfill a campaign pledge.

Those in support of the four-year duration, such as Prof Addae-Mensah, former Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, were of the view that increasing the duration of the SHS programme would help reverse the high number of students who were unable to qualify for admissions into the universities and other tertiary institutions.

Nana Oboedum V, National President of the Conference of Heads of Private Second Cycle Schools, noted at the time that it had become obvious that products of the three-year secondary school had less holistic educational opportunities.

“We are on the ground and we know what is happening; four years of secondary education should be better in our current circumstances,” he stated in an interview with the GNA.

In the view of Nana Oboedum, four years would “enable students cope with problematic core subjects like English Language, Mathematics, Integrated Science, Social Studies and ICT, which are taught at the first year before elective subjects are added in the second year”.

On the other hand, opponents of the four-year programme had maintained that the dismal academic performance at the Senior High school level did not lie in the extension of the duration.

This generated a lot of public debate, compelling the government to organise a national forum on the duration in May 2010, in an attempt to obtain a national consensus.

Even though a consensus could not be reached, and it was also clear that the majority of Ghanaians, including teachers, parents and students of the Senior High Schools, were in favour of the four-year duration, the Mills-Mahama government decided to sacrifice national collective interest and aspiration on the altar of meeting parochial partisan desire.

By Kwabena Amankwah

Source: The Statesmanonline



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