The 2019/2020 Academic Year begins in the first week of September, 2019.All Schools which run the GES’ Curriculum are expected to commence an entirely new curriculum from KG2 to the JHS.
Hurray!!! New subjects have been introduced across all levels and the changes are expected to help equip the learners with skills and knowledge to enable them cope with the challenges of the 21st Century. What a laudable initiative.
Now let’s go: do you know that till today, barely 4 months to the beginning of the new Curriculum, the following are elusive?
1. The Classroom Teacher does not know any details about the CONTENT/STRUCTURE, OBJECTIVES or SCOPE of the subjects being introduced;
2. There are NO CURRICULUM FRAMEWORKS available anywhere on the new curriculum;
3. The MOE and GES websites are loudly silent about the New Curriculum and have no relevant materials to support any form of education to the Websites’ visitors on the new Curriculum;
4. No single Seminar or Symposium has been organised for the key implementer of the curriculum- the Teacher, and yet the Teacher is expected to be the implementer of the new changes!;
5. No single workshop or seminar has been organised for Circuit Supervisors, Headteachers and Headmasters to educate/properly inform them about the changes and what to expect during the supervision of Teachers and mentoring of Trainees;
6. NO SINGLE TEXTBOOK is available anywhere as of now on any of the new subjects and yet Schools are expected to start placing orders for Textbooks for next academic year;
7. GNAT & NAGRAT have not made their positions known on the start of the new Curriculum amidst the challenges enumerated above and one wonders whether they are in cahoots with those responsible for ensuring a smooth transition from the current system to the “proposed” curricula;
8. There is no road map on how the transition is going to happen: when Teachers will be trained and aligned with the new changes; when Regional, Municipal/District Seminars will be held or what sort of Textbooks will be used, etc.
9. There has been NO PROPER NATIONWIDE PUBLIC EDUCATION on the new changes. I know a Stakeholders workshop was held for Regional, Municipal and District Directors of Education and some selected Stakeholders to inform them about the work of the Committee/Council tasked with the New Curriculum Development. That’s all there’s been. And that’s no where closer to enough!
For the records, the University of Cambridge’s Cambridge Assessment International Education(CAIE) which conducts Primary and Secondary Checkpoints, IGCSE/O’Level and A’Level Examinations worldwide has completed training Teachers, Curriculum Coordinators and Exams Officers and they have gone ahead to release the Curriculum Frameworks, Course materials and audiovisuals on changes to the Creative Art syllabus for the May 2020 IGCSE Examinations. One clear year ahead of time! That is what we call planning in pro-activity!
In Ghana, we are expected to start an entirely new Curriculum for our FUTURE LEADERS and 4 months to the start of the CURRICULUM, we are in a labyrinth!
School leaders, especially at the private sector, have a headache; which textbooks should they order? which Teachers should they maintain or how many new Teachers should they recruit based on the new changes? how will the new subjects and their accompanying materials impact on bills for next academic year? when will the Teachers familiarize themselves with the new Curriculum and plan to deliver effective and interesting lessons?……..many things are running on the minds of many School Leaders and yet NO ONE wants to talk about these happenings. We have rather channeled our energies at attacking PDS/ECG on dumsor. Education holds the key to the very survival of this Country and we must not be gagged on speaking out on the RIGHT of the future leaders to quality education.
In September 2015, at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit, Member States formally adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in New York. The agenda contains 17 goals including a new global education goal (SDG 4). SDG 4 is to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all’ and has seven targets and three means of implementation(en.unesco.org). Ghana must do all that is humanly possible to live by the true tenets of SDG 4.
As an industry player, Teacher’s mentor and curriculum development person, I am worried but not yet livid. If we want to learn from the Western World, let us learn properly without jettisoning the elements which have driven those economies this far.
If the Ministry of Education and Ghana Education Service will listen to advice, they should postpone the implementation of the new changes in September 2019 and consider rolling them out in 2021.
The MOE & GES should as a matter of URGENCY come out with a ROAD MAP for the implementation of the new Curriculum.
The sector should ensure that the Curriculum Frameworks and Textbooks for the various subjects: Our World and Our People, History of Ghana, ICT, Literacy, Numeracy, Science, French, Arabic, Creative Art, etc; are ready and circulated for critique, corrections, additions and subtractions at a “National Seminar of Educationalists”- Classroom Teachers, Heads of Departments, Headmasters, Curriculum Development experts, University Lecturers, Directors, etc. Workshops should be held in all Districts, Cities, Towns and Villages for Teachers on the New Curriculum and Teachers should be allowed to ask QUESTIONS to clear any doubts which might be lingering within the fringes of their minds.
Next, book authors should be given adequate education on the CONTENT, OBJECTIVES and SCOPE of the Curriculum for each key stage.
They should know what VCRs and TLMs will be needed to enhance effective pedagogy and government should regulate the activities of the book authors and ensure that the cost of the books are affordable whilst the contents are in sync with the GES’/MOE’s expectations.
Catastrophic repercussions await all of us if we go ahead with the implementation of the new Curriculum countrywide without going through the above engagements and processes. Let’s pick up some lessons from the challenges which bedeviled the implementation of the double-track SHS.
I am motivated to speak up for our future leaders on the advice of the President of the Republic, ‘be citizens and not spectators’.
Article By:Don Mcknight Kwadwo Cato