Dr Prince Armah, Executive Secretary of National Council for Curriculum Assessment (NaCCA)
Why introduce a new curriculum?
The structure and content of the old primary curriculum has not kept pace with the modern-day needs of our rapidly changing nation. It is overloaded with subjects and content, with limited flexibility in teaching and learning activities. It also stresses too much on the teaching of content and passing of exams instead of ensuring that children acquire lifelong skills and can apply the knowledge acquired. Further, evidence from national and international assessment reports on Ghana’s learning outcomes indicate that, Ghana underperforms in both literacy and numeracy. The new curriculum will ensure that our children can think more creatively and have both the confidence and competence to participate fully in the Ghanaian society as responsible local and global citizens.
To ensure that the curriculum keeps pace with the rapidly changing society and latest educational best practices, International Bureau of Education has recommended that countries should review and revise their curriculum every 5 years. In line with this provision, the kindergarten curriculum which was introduced in 2006; and primary curriculum reviewed in 2007 and 2012 have outlived their relevance.
Who developed the new curriculum and how was it done?
Since 2017, the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NaCCA) has harnessed the energy and expertise of key education stakeholders including teachers, curriculum advisors, universities, teacher unions, policy makers, researchers, students and development partners to develop the curriculum framework and the new KG to primary six curriculum. The new curriculum has thus been built on collaboration, cooperation and collective expertise of a broad range of Ghanaian educators.
A 14-member Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC) made recommendations and developed a roadmap for the review and revision of the existing school curricula. The MAC made recommendations that a National Pre-Tertiary Education Curriculum Framework (NPECF) be developed to guide the reform process and this was approved by Cabinet in October 2017.
What is new?
The revised curriculum seeks to build character and nurture our children to become citizens we can be proud of. It focuses on Reading, wRiting, aRithmetic and cReativity (4Rs) and has features such as making Ghana a mathematics friendly country, the reintroducing history of Ghana as standalone subject and the strengthening of the teaching of French starting from Primary 4.
The revised KG to primary 6 curriculum have the following learning areas:
- Kindergarten: Language and Literacy, Mathematics, Creative Arts and Our World, Our People
- Lower Primary: Language and Literacy (English and Ghanaian Languages), Mathematics, Creative Arts, Science, Our World, Our People, History, Religious and Moral Education, and Physical Education
- Upper Primary: Language and Literacy (English, Ghanaian Languages and French), Mathematics, Creative Arts, Science, Our World, Our People, History, Religious and Moral Education, Physical Education, and Computing
Where can you find it?
The curriculum, teacher resource materials and training guides are available on the NaCCA website (www.nacca.gov.gh) and can be downloaded for personal use only.
Is it for sale?
All the curriculum materials and resources developed by NaCCA belongs to the Government of Ghana and no part of the curriculum may be reproduced without prior written permission from the Ministry of Education. The curriculum and assorted resource materials are available on the NaCCA website and can be downloaded for personal use only.
Individuals and organisations are not allowed to commercialise the curriculum by printing and selling for monetary gains. This is against copyright laws of the country.
Why are you doing this now? Why can’t we wait a year or two?
We want every Ghanaian child to have a high-quality education and achieve their potential in society. The old pre-tertiary curriculum was not offering the learner the opportunity to identify and develop their potential and acquire lifelong skills. Change is necessary now if we truly care about our children’s future. Every additional year the government uses resources to teach a curriculum which does not improve learning outcomes, it increases the number of years we fail as a people in securing a better future for our own children. The Government of Ghana is taking a phased approach in the implementation process to ensure that the education system is adequately prepared to teach the new curriculum. This means that phase one of the new curriculum (KG to P6) will rollout in September 2019.
How will you ensure that all teachers are trained?
Ghana Education Service (GES) and NaCCA put in place a robust plan to ensure that all 152,000 KG to P6 teachers were trained and equipped withsufficient knowledge to deliver the new curriculum from September 2019. Intensive nationwide training started in April 2019 with a simulation of the curriculum materials. All teachers will be trained by the end of August 2019. Apart from the 5 days of ‘face to face’ training, teachers will receive further school-based support through Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) and Continuous Professional Development (CPD) programmes.
We believe in the quality and commitment of our teachers and know that they will rise to the challenge and become effective implementers of these changes. The new curriculum isa user friendly document designed with the Ghanaian teacher and learner in mind. The curriculum is a response to the very issues the Ghanaian classroom teacher has been calling for to address the challenges of the current system. It is therefore expected that, teachers will embrace the standards-based curriculum wholeheartedly and ensure that implementation is not compromised. NaCCA and GES are also establishing a nationwide monitoring strategy to track teacher effectiveness for remedial action where necessary.
What about private schools?
In July 2019, 130 master trainers from private schools received a five-day orientation on the new curriculum. The orientation was conducted by NaCCA with support from the Ministry of Education. The trainers were drawn from Ghana National Association of Private Schools (GNAPS), the Ghana National Council of Private Schools (GNACoPS), West Africa Montessori Association (WAMA) and the Federation for Educational Research & Development (FERD) across the country. By the 6th of September all private school teachers in all 16 regions in the country will be trained
What about textbooks?
All book publishers and educational material developers have been requested to submit their materials based on the new curriculum for assessment. The assessment and approval system will be an on-going process and publishers are entreated to submit their books whenever they are completed for assessment.
To ensure that all schools and teachers are adequately prepared to teach the new curriculum from September, teacher resource packs with detailed exemplars to support teaching and learning.
Do teachers and their respective unions support the new curriculum?
Yes! Teacher unions have been involved in the development of the new curriculum and they are fully supportive of its aim and objectives. As the people who are working in classrooms every day they are closest to the needs of our children and understand that the current curriculum is not enabling them to meet their full potential.
NaCCA would however like to assure the general public that, as part of its inclusive curriculum development process, all relevant stakeholders will be extensively engaged during the next phase of the curriculum review process.
Source: National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, Communications Unit