Proposed Curriculum for Schools: Key Features and an Expert’s View of National Examinations for Primary 2 Students | Rare Techy
Starting in 2019, Ghana is seeking to introduce major reforms to the education curriculum for schools. After several delays, the country has made some headway by introducing reform proposals to improve reading, writing, mathematics and creativity at the basic school level. YEN.com.gh presents a summary of the proposed reforms and the concerns raised by an educationist.
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The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NACCA) in 2019 completed new reforms to the curriculum of school education and handed it over to the Ghana Education Service (GES). But that curriculum has been mired in controversy, among them claims of a tacit introduction of LGBTQ+ beliefs. It was withdrawn.
NaCCA has revised the content of the new curriculum, confident that the new instruction will cover all areas of education in Ghana and equip learners with the foundational skills needed for lifelong learning, creativity and national development.
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YEN.com.gh Ni Arma Adi, a noted educationist, summarizes the new final recommendations contained in the proposed curriculum and the concerns raised.
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The Ministry of Education said the rationale behind the proposals for the new reforms is to shift the structure and content of the education system from merely passing exams to building character, inculcating and uplifting values in Ghana. Literate, confident and engaged citizens who can think critically.”
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The government hopes the new curriculum will raise the quality of education at the pre-tertiary level, emphasizing science and mathematics as the basic building blocks for success in tertiary education or early entry into the workplace.
The following 12 points summarize the proposals for the new education curriculum for Ghana:
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1. “Basic School” in Ghana now includes Kindergarten, Primary School, Junior High School (JHS) and Senior High School (SHS).
2. Also, JHS 1, 2, 3 and SHS 1 will now be called BS 7,8,9 and 10 respectively i.e. SHS 1 will now be called BS 10.
3. A new program called “Common Core Program” (CCP) will be run for all students from JHS 1 to SHS 1. The new CPP includes Mathematics, Languages, Science, Religion, Moral Education (RME) (as a stand-alone subject), Physical and Health Education (non-examined), Career Technology, Social Studies, Computing, Creative Art and Design.
4. A new national examination system called “Standard Assessment Test (NSAT)” was introduced. Students in Primary 2, 4, 6 and JHS 2 will take this test to enable them to move on to the next stage of their education.
5. Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) is now cancelled. It will be replaced by placement exams in JHS 3 aimed at admitting students to SHS1.
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6. When students enter SHS1 (BS7), they take CPP subjects (Mathematics, Languages, Science, RME, Physical, Health Education, Career Technology, Social Studies, Computing, Creative Art and Design) for one year. , arts and other programs will not be done as they were done before.
7. When students complete SHS1, they are required to take a Common Core exam before entering SHS 2.
8. At SHS 2 students can choose a career-related program that includes vocational and technical programs or high school diploma programs such as science, business, and arts. That means in SHS 2 (or BS8) they can choose optional subjects of their choice.
9. There will be no more West Africa Senior School Certification Examination (WASCCE). The West Africa Examinations Council (WAEC) did away with the university entrance exams at SHS3 instead. SHS3 students who pass the Common Core examinations will now receive a Diploma Certificate instead of a WASSCE Certificate.
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10. The new reforms will focus on projects that improve Ghana’s education system through research and community engagement of learners.
11. The new Common Core Program (CPP) of the new education system makes computer literacy a major focus. It has been suggested that the school and related educational stakeholders should be in a good position to provide adequate IT facilities to the students.
12. Science under the new educational curriculum includes physical and applied science, which includes more performance features. It is divided into diversity of matter, cycle, system, forces and energy, man and environment.
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While many have praised the makers of the new education curriculum, there are fears that national exams and tests for under-4s will be a challenge.
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Ni Amar Adi, an expert on the education pillar of the think tank Center for Social Justice (CSJ), said that despite strong efforts by state agencies to inject a new lease of life into the current education system, new reforms are still being stressed. exam
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“It’s unfortunate that we focus on testing while the world, especially countries that are leaders in early childhood education, move away from testing,” he said. YEN.com.gh.
He said national exams set for P2, P4 and P6 students were problematic.
“Education should develop the whole person. So if our curriculum focuses on a one-hour exam or a 30-minute exam, I think we have a problem. “I want to strengthen our continuous assessment that emphasizes daily attendance at school, courtesy to boys and girls, good personal hygiene, respect to parents and teachers and engagement in society,” he said.
Arma said tests should carry 30% weightage while continuous evaluation should be given 70% weightage.
“Constant assessment is what keeps the student or learner on their toes continuously. Students spend a lot of time in schools, so schools should play a big role in shaping the character of students,” he emphasized.
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In his view, the proposed Standardized Assessment Test (NSAT) will cost Ghana its place in the international education community. He explained that the NSAT, unlike WAEC’s WASSCE, will not be written in conjunction with other West African countries.
“This means that WAEC will lose relevance and limit students’ qualifications and certificates to Ghana. We may open our system to other examination bodies to give students the opportunity to continue internationally. I know Cambridge and other exams are good but they are not written in our public schools. Let us consider it,” Mr. Arma said.
Ghana needs a national development plan for education
The new education curriculum incorporates many reforms brought in since independence in 1957. Arma believes that the lack of a national development plan for education is the reason why the education curriculum is constantly changing.
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“Ghana needs a national development plan for education. This will ensure that whatever the Ghana Education Service or any other government agency decides on education is in line with a larger national plan and legislation. Don’t leave education in the hands of our politicians. They haven’t helped,” he said.
He said it is time for education policy in Ghana to stabilize through a more progressive framework.
“Education policy should not be based on the whims and hypocrisies of a politician or a political party manifesto. It should be a national effort. Our education should have a national direction, where people who are distinguished by their work or conduct in the fields of education are brought in to contribute to planning the educational direction of the country,” he exhorted.
The government hopes that the new education curriculum will promote the application and use of knowledge
In the framework of the new pre-tertiary education curriculum, the Ministry of Education explained that prior to the major reforms, the curricula used in Ghana’s pre-tertiary educational institutions were largely based on a behavioral view of learning, neglecting cognitive learning theories.
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As a result, curriculum content was predetermined and specific approaches to teaching were prescribed. Furthermore, assessment of student learning was based on testing learners on the collection of isolated facts and skills. This led to a strict prescription of textbooks aligned with various subject syllabi.
“It limited the teacher’s ingenuity. Strict adherence to the behavioral perspective of learning does not require standards-based reforms,” the government agency said.
The role of the new framework is to emphasize the creation, application and use of knowledge in our schools by setting national standards, the ministry said.
“These national standards will provide opportunities for learning and instruction. Also, it allows for appropriate management of evaluation, as learning outcomes can be measured against comparable standards. Therefore, learning outcomes can be appropriately measured as indicators of the quality of the education system,” the ministry reasoned.
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While concerns about teachers, textbooks and related tools to properly implement these reforms remain another practical concern for educationists, it is still early days, to say the least.
It is true that major structural reforms of the kind suggested by the new curriculum are needed to train young learners to take up the mantle of national development. Time will tell if Ghana can succeed in that quest.
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