Outgoing President John Mahama says the country’s educational sector has witnessed a significant improvement with public schools outperforming noted private schools during his tenure.
He says students to teacher ratio has improved during his tenure which has culminated into better teacher-student engagement with teacher absenteeism down from 27% to below 9%.
Delivering his last state of the nation address to Parliament Thursday, he said, “our vision under my administration has been to turn this situation around and not only improve access to education but also the quality of education.
“We are witnessing a significant improvement in our educational outcomes. More children than ever before in our history are having access to education at the basic and secondary levels. With the distribution of free textbooks, children have access to all the four textbooks and no longer have to share.
President Mahama noted that at the start of his term in office and many years to that prior, there has been a national dissatisfaction at the declining standards of education at the basic and secondary levels adding the lack of access to both basic and secondary education meant that many children were being left behind.
“A shortage of professionally trained teachers, teacher absenteeism, shortage of core textbooks- resulting in a situation in which four (4) children shared one textbook, dilapidated schools, lack of science laboratories and workshops, among others, manifested in declining results at the Basic Education Certificate Examinations (BECE) and West African Secondary School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE),” he said.
However, he stated that in excess of 2,000 dilapidated schools popularly referred to as “schools under trees” have been replaced with teachers more available and evenly distributed than in the past.
According to him, the construction and population of 47 newly built Community Day Senior High Schools have seen more students able to continue their education beyond the basic level instead of dropping out.
These investments the President acknowledged are yielding results and reflecting in the performance of our children.
“Performance at both the Basic Education Certificate Examinations (BECE) and the West African Secondary School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE) have seen remarkable improvement. The very last batch of BECE students recorded the highest number of students obtaining a raw score of above 500 marks in the history of the examination.
“We are recording improved performance in many public schools in the WASSCE across the country. During the Best Schools Awards Ceremonies, many rural and public schools are outperforming some of the better known urban and private schools. Ghana has consistently, over the last three years, taken the three top spots in the WASCCE,” he said.
At the tertiary education level, he said the construction of additional public universities in the Brong Ahafo and Volta Regions have improved access to university education.
“The sod cutting for start of work on the University of Environment and Sustainable Development in the Eastern Region, the conversion of the polytechnics into technical universities, the creation of three autonomous universities out of the University for Development Studies (UDS) are all creating additional opportunities for students to pursue courses at the tertiary level,” he said.