The Ministry of Education has embarked on an initiative to improve the quality of education at the basic education level with the release of funds to sharpen the teaching skills of 3,321 headteachers across the country.
The initiative which is under the In-Service Education Training (INSET) programme and supported by the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) and other development partners, aims at addressing the poor performance of pupils at the basic level.
The Minister of Education, Mrs Betty Mould-Iddrisu, said this in an address read on her behalf at the opening of a workshop to sensitise regional and district directors of education to the INSET programme.
“I am delighted to be here to re-echo the determination of the government to provide quality education for all Ghanaian schoolchildren, a foundation for national development. This is reflected in the Medium Term National Development Policy Framework and Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda, 2010 to 2013,” she stated.
She said the primary school gross enrolment rate had increased over the years and currently stood at 96.36 per cent, and that in spite of the increase in enrolment the quality of education was not the best.
Mrs Mould-Iddrisu said having identified the teacher as key to quality education, the government was making all efforts to improve the pedagogical skills and knowledge of teachers in order to improve teaching and learning in schools.
In addition, she said, the government had identified school leadership as a catalyst to bring about the needed change and results that would meet the expectation of the country.
“Until regional, district directors and school heads are held accountable to ensure positive student learning with commensurate results, our efforts at achieving the MDGs in the coming years will be in vain”.
Mrs Mould-Iddrisu noted that drastic measures needed to be taken to address shortfalls in the delivery of quality in the regions and districts.
Over the past 10 years, she said, JICA had been offering support to improve the quality of education delivery, and that between 2000 and 2005, JICA supported the Science, Technology and Mathematics Education project in basic schools in three pilot districts and then extended it to 10 other districts in 2008.
“As a result of the success chalked up in this pilot project, JICA is supporting the GES to institutionalise school and cluster-based INSET in the country.
Mrs Mould-Iddrisu said the institutionalised INSET was expected to provide a better and well designed continuous professional development for serving teachers instead of the adhoc and infrequent in-service training in the past, adding that, “the INSET will enable teachers to constantly update and upgrade their content knowledge and pedagogical competencies”.
The Government of Ghana, she said, was highly committed to the INSET programme and had supported the printing of 800,000 INSET source books for districts and schools.
“INSET structures such as district INSET committees have also been established and members trained in all the 170 districts by the National INSET Unit under the Teacher Education Division to manage and implement the INSET programme. While some districts are doing very well in implementing the INSET, others are lagging behind,” she said.
The acting Director General of the GES, Ms Benedicta Naana Biney, expressed the hope that the training would lead to the improvement of education in the country.
The National Coordinator of INSET, Ms Everly Oduro, said the continuous professional development of teachers was key to improving teaching and learning.
A senior education consultant, Prof. Paul N. Buatsi, who chaired the function, also stated the INSET programme was very important as it would lead to an improvement in the performance of pupils at the basic level.