Former Director-General and Rector of GIMPA, Professor Stephen Adei, says his revolutionary strategy to transforming the poor performance of public basic schools in Ghana is to simply sack all the teaching staff.
He noted that the lack of active supervision in public basic schools have resulted in highly qualified teachers not pulling their weight to ensure that students excel in their various subjects.
According to him, no matter how much money government pumps into public basic school education to improve the sector, if the structure of management and accountability in the schools does not change, “every money is going down the drain.”
“First of all, we have allowed the quality of our basic education to collapse in the public sector. It’s so sad. The teachers are not teaching. They’re qualified, far more qualified than we were – because mine was you first start serving and then you go for four years. These days they’re almost all graduates.
“I hear that from today, there will be no pupil teachers teaching. We were having pupil teachers teaching alongside with us and yet we were producing results far more and better. At this moment if you go to poor private schools, the people who are teaching there are secondary school dropouts but all their children are literate. But go to the public sector, the average person cannot read and write because the teachers have refused to teach and they’re being allowed to get away with murder,” he said on PM Express Personality Profile.
He said the main ingredient to improving education is public basic schools is by ensuring strict supervision.
“In teaching in my school, only three things matter; the supervision, that’s the authority of the head teacher supervising them insisting that teachers do teach and holding them accountable, these have been let go at the basic level and therefore, you can see it graphically in our school in my village.
“When they go to senior secondary schools nationwide, this is the year we’re celebrating that 60% passed, but do you know what even that means? And that is a good result, it means 40% failed and the average over the years is 50%. 50% passed and 50% failed. Any education system which produces 50% almost failures is in dire crisis.
“But do you know why even the 50% passed? First, you always have some people god-talented and lucky, no matter what even if you put him in a hole. The rest, they have to pay for extra classes. The same teachers oo, they won’t teach them. It’s after the class and if you don’t go you’ll fail because they will tell you, they themselves will tell you if you don’t come you’ll fail and you’ll fail too. And this is the system we’re presiding over,” he bemoaned.
Prof. Adei said the government is spending enough money on education and not getting the right output.
“But the secret of changing it is not more money, simply and that’s my extreme revolutionary one, just give notice and sack all the teachers, period. Three months’ notice during long vacation ‘you’re no longer employed’, then ask people to apply for headship, head teachers and principals. Select quality ones, put them in the schools and pay them well, pay the principals and the head teacher about twice their salary because they’re so important and say that now you’re free to employ whoever you want to employ.
“I will give you the money, but you from today have the authority to discipline them and get the results. So if you don’t get the results, you the head teacher will be the one to be held responsible. Within one year, the quality of education will rise. That is my extreme remedy and the quickest way to improve education in Ghana,” he suggested.
He added that while he believes there is a need for the government to provide basic school supplies like classrooms, textbooks and the like, the lackadaisical attitude of teachers in the basic schools will make all investments in the sector come to naught.
“All the rest, not that I don’t believe in textbooks, classrooms, all those teacher education and all those things, but let me tell you unless we change the structure and the management and the accountability, every money is going down the drain.
“But because our universities are limited, we will still get sufficient people who will pass, but we’re raising an army of dangerous, unemployable ones and one of these days, I may be gone but you may have your head rolled by the thieves whom you didn’t train,” he said.