Education Minister, Dr. Yaw Adutwum, has refuted claims that standards have fallen within the Ghanaian education system, particularly in senior high schools.
He explained that while the norm is for standards to fall when enrollment drastically increases as in the case of the Free Senior High School policy, Ghana’s education system and learning outcomes have defied gravity.
Speaking on JoyNews’ Newsfile, Saturday, he said those who claim that standards have fallen have only done so by projecting what has been the norm in other countries.
“So invariably you hear people talking that standards have fallen, things are so bad. It’s their projection as to what they think should be happening. Because around the world, if you look at education systems what happens invariably is that countries that increase enrollment rapidly diminish learning outcomes.
“So even education experts in Ghana, I’ve heard some of them say standards have fallen because enrollment has gone up. You see that is what is supposed to be but that is not what is happening.”
Describing Ghana’s good fortune as ‘Ghanaian magic’ the Education Minister noted that the country’s excess supply of highly skilled teachers and the nation’s ability to deploy them effectively was what prevented standards from falling.
“Ghana has a unique situation, we’re the only country probably one of the few countries in the world where we have excess teachers that can be deployed. In other jurisdictions even if they want to deploy they don’t have them.
“But in addition to that the interesting thing about the Ghanaian expansion and why we have improved learning outcomes is that when we improve the learning outcomes we created a different eco-system,” he explained.
“The first is that when we increased enrollment we made the education free, what it means is that whereas before free senior high school students will take two weeks four weeks to come to school because they were waiting at home to look for money to pay their fees.
“You made it free therefore during the first week they’re there. So because they come during the first week they’re not missing anything. Consequently, the time on task has improved tremendously in our schools,” he said.