Identified problems within the Ghanaian Education system In Ghana most children enter school


In Ghana most children enter school speaking little or no English. This seems unbelievable when English is the countrys offical language. Infact the reason for this is that there are over 44 indigenous languages within Ghana so this alone causes students problems when they come to study English. In Ghana urgent attention is needed towards literacy. At present only 10% of students can read at grade level after 6 years in primary school. Classes of 20- 30 pupils will only have 2 English textbooks to accommodate the whole group. The Government wants students to be proficient in English by grade 4 so that they are able to understand lessons where instruction is English. Students are expected to respond using oral and written English and finally be able to read from textbooks written in English. Because of the lack of materials many students experience difficulties meeting expectations, as a result most do not have the opportunity to acquire even very basic language skills. Children in rural villages may never go to school. This is because the nearest school may be 4 or 5 miles away. How ever, villages that may be lucky enough to have a school often do not have suitable classrooms and therefore children find themselves being taught outside. This is not a suitable learning environment. Can it be that in these situations the weather can play a part in whether children can get an education or not.

In fact in Ghana it is a social belief that males are the breadwinners and therefore it is them who solely need an education. The females role is seen as having children and looking after the house, many therefore are kept away from schools. In a society today it is unjust that traditional beliefs are still being used to determine peoples futures. How then can the government be complaining that there is a very high percentage of people who still can not read and write. May be a solution could be found if only the people of Ghana can except other factors which deprive children of a needed education. English is not only Ghanas offical language but it is the first International language. If children have ambitions of becoming say a Doctor with the idea of travelling, then they will need the best education they can get. Many believe English should not take over from native tongue instruction. One method put forward is ´Mother Tongue Literacy´. This is where children are taught to read in their own language before being introduced to English. Parents in Ghana do not measure their chilrens success on how they perform in class but purely on whether they speak. Many students have difficulties in speaking and writing English , these then hold back their performance with all other aspects of the language. Ghana´s education system today is made up of the combination of two past policies which were put into place by two past politcal regimes. Children at pre school level are introduced to English at an early age, how ever they have to switch back to their native language when in Class 1. Some parents do not think this is a suitable learning process and those that can afford it send their children to private schools where English is used as the main medium of instruction throughout their education. Until a teaching system can be agreed upon and it is one that all schools will enforce there are always going to be problems for students in Ghana.

If most schools took on a policy of English as the language of instruction I believe student achievement would not improve . If children do not meet up to the new levels they would be looked down upon and thought of as failures. Is it fair that pressure is put on students to speak and write English, when those who teach English as a second language consider themselves to be unproficient in the language. Is it not better teaching training that is required.' If teachers have a high understanding themselves then it is the same level that the students will achieve over a period of time.

Sources

'Language, Education and Culture - The Dilema of Ghanaian Schools (Kwadwo Asafo-Agyei Okrah P.h.D)

'Language in Education in Ghana - The Debate (African Journals Online)

'Ghana in Picture - Visual Geography (Yvette La Pierre)

'A Critical look at the English-Only Language Policy of education (Charles Owu-Ewie, University of Ohio)

'Ghanas National School Improvement Plan Targets (EDC article)

'Ghana, The Education System (Country Studies, US)