Minister for Education Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum has stressed that all systems of education must produce critical thinkers to be relevant in the 21st century and beyond.

He regretted that the educational system in Africa and Ghana in particular does not produce critical thinkers that would help solve problems on the continent.

According to Dr. Adutwum, this system has tamed pupils and students from asking questions by programming them to only reproduce what teachers taught them during examination.

Trumpeting what Ghana is doing to change the situation at the United Nation’s General Assembly meeting in New York in the United States of America, the Education Minister said this type of education cannot transform Ghana and the continent as a whole.
Comparing the situation to his experience in the United States of America, he described Ghanaian school children as good and respectful.
However, he has visited a number of schools and anytime he asked the students at the end of his interaction with them if they have a question for him, no hand went up.

“What it tells me is that invariably we tame the children. We just want them to write down what we tell them. At the day of examination, they should put down what we have told them and we say you are the best student the country has ever known.

“That kind of education system will not transform Ghana. That kind of education system is not going to give us critical thinking individuals especially since we are in the 21st century and education 4.0-the fourth industrial revolution.

“You can’t memorise your way out of poverty but you can critically think and innovate out of poverty.

“So, Ghanaian schools, African school have to begin to take a serious look at what I call assertive curriculum; a curriculum that empowers the African child to ask questions and challenge the status quo respectively within the African cultural context.

“But, not a curriculum that tells the African child to be quiet and don’t say anything when the adult is speaking and tell the adult back whatever he was told.

“With that kind of education system, I don’t care if we get to the point where every African child is in school.
“If you put all of them in school and do not change the way you teach them by empowering them to be assertive individuals, you have still not transformed Africa through education.

“If you put all of them in school and do not change the way you teach them by empowering them to be assertive individuals, you have still not transformed Africa through education.

“We have to make sure we can get the critical mass with critical minds that we need for our transformation”, Dr. Adutwum reiterated.

Paradigm shift

Dr. Adutwum is pushing for Ghana and Africa to stop taming students and rather help them to be assertive so they can open up at all times and ask critical questions wherever they might find themselves in the course of their lives.

“In the contemporary world, industry relies more heavily on creative and innovative thinking. than memorisation, hence the need for the country to produce critical thinkers”, he stressed.

Four Cs of education

Dr. Adutwum noted that students who are critical thinkers come to the realisation of four Cs of education collaboration namely, creativity, critical thinking and communication, making them competitive on the global market.

Multiple reforms

Dr. Adutwum indicated that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government led by President Nana Akufo-Addo is carrying out multiple reforms that are necessary to improve education in Ghana.

The main focus is to improve pupils’ learning outcomes and ensure an overall impact on education on national capacity building and socio-economic development.

Education Strategic Plan

According to Dr. Adutwum, an Education Strategic Plan (ESP 2018-2030), has three key objectives, namely, improved equitable access to and participation in inclusive education at all levels; improved quality of teaching and learn and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education to produce and graduates who will be fit for purpose at all levels and sustainable and efficient management, financing and accountability of education service delivery.

The Ministry, he added, has also developed the electronic-based monitoring system – the Fidelity o Implementation (FOI) Monitoring System, which is being used by major stakeholders in monitoring the progress of implementation, identifying challenges and taking constructive decisions to improve implementation and accountability.

The main focus is to improve pupils’ learning outcomes and ensure an overall impact of education on national capacity building and socio-economic development.

More reforms

Dr. Adutwum has also embark on vigorous infrastructure development, teacher training, targeted instruction, parent engagement, textbook reforms and training of Headteachers.

National Standardised Test

Dr. Adutwum said the first-ever National Standardised Test organised by the Ministry for Primary Four pupils revealed that the Ahafo, Bono East and Bono regions which were formerly together as the Brong Ahafo Region, emerged as a strong base for lower primary education.

After the test in Mathematics and English Language, P4 pupils in the Ahafo Region posted the highest mean scores of 67% in English and 58% in Mathematics, while those in the Bono Region posted 65% in English and 55% in Mathematics, with those in the Bono East Region scoring 58% in English and 50% in Mathematics.

The Volta Region posted the least mean scores of 34% in English and 27% in Mathematics.

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