It would be recalled last Sunday 12th March 2023 when the Minister of Education met the Heads of Public Senior High Schools in Kumasi, he issued a warning that he would close nonperforming Schools in the country.
This has generated a lot of discussion among the general public.
According to Hon Alex Kyeremeh, a former deputy Minister of Education in charge of pre-tertiary, this is just an empty threat and a clear indication that he has failed as a Minister of State. The Minister should have first answered the following questions before his threats:
Is he aware that he is presiding over SHS with inadequate textbooks? Since 2016 when the last textbooks were procured, have they added a single textbook?
When was the last time a staff audit was conducted SHS? Is he aware that many schools are overstaffed and subject teachers ran shifts whereas some schools don’t have teachers?
Is he not presiding over a system where Principal superintendents are appointed headmasters of SHS whereas hundreds of deputy directors and directors are on the waiting list?
Is he not the same person keeping people on retirement at their post while hundreds of qualified people don’t have space to operate?
Has he forgotten schools close a few weeks after reopening because of inadequate food supply as a result of lack of funds distorting the academic calendar?
Much as school heads and teachers must not be absorbed completely grow low performance the government and for that matter, the Minister have a greater role to play. For instance, if there are inadequate textbooks, food and teachers do we blame headmasters?
This program of meeting heads of schools especially nonperforming ones was instituted by Prof Naana Jane Opoku Agyeman. Such schools took turns to tell their challenges at the conference and where it bothered on school supplies or personnel issues GES quickly took over to address such issues. In addition to all these Security Agencies we asked to profile these schools and where problems are detected the Headmaster, community parents or students based on recommendations actions were quickly taken using these pragmatic steps some nonperforming schools suddenly became first-class schools.
Lastly, Headmasters were asked to sign performance contracts and they were apprised based on their school’s performance.
There are inadequate infrastructure to house students and some schools for the past six years are running double track system and if you start closing some schools based on their performance instead of helping them to address their challenges very soon we will wake up to see few schools for an ever-growing population.
The Minister must stop talking and put his hands on the wheel which is a mark of a serious leader.
Source: Frank Owusu