Associate Professor at the Department of Nutrition and Food science at the University of Ghana, Professor Esther O. Sakyi-Dawson, has called for a transformation in Ghana’s educational system to inspire change in the country’s state of affairs.
According to her, Ghana is currently producing graduates who despite the number of years they spend in school, still have little experience in critical thinking and practicality after the completion of their programs of study.
This she attributed to the present system where students are trained to gain knowledge, focusing on the grades just so they can excel and move to the next stage; a situation that applies right from the basic level through to the tertiary level.
“If we are going to put everything on grades, on what grades you can get and that means that we can do something, I think that we are getting it all wrong and unfortunately that is where we seem to be at, our educational system has gotten us to a point where everybody wants to get the A’s and the WASSCE and B.E.C.E systems has given us students who just want to pass exams and come to the university and then we have a hard time trying to change their attitude and the way they learn, and when they go out, we in the university are blamed for not training our students who can do something”, she said.
Speaking at the 4th edition of the Achimota Speaks forum Wednesday, April 19, the University of Ghana lecturer and Council Chair for the Koforidua Technical University said there is a need for government to re-engineer the current educational system, adopting new methods of teaching where students don’t only gain knowledge to pass for the next level but also broaden their knowledge scope to be able to make critical decisions which will effect change beyond the classroom.
“A lot of our teaching is emphasizing; give knowledge, let people memorize things and then you assess them to find out what they know and not what they can do, and that is where we need to, looking at the quest for excellence in education, we need to change the way in which we are going through our educational system to bring about knowledge for change and knowledge to inspire people to do and not just to know”
Prof. Sakyi-Dawson called on government to work on making the teaching profession a desirable one. She also urged teachers to be innovative and move beyond the mere dissemination of information to developing other engaging ways of transferring knowledge.
According to her, globalization and the invent of technology has provided several means of researching information hence it would be practically the same things tutors would be teaching if they don’t revolutionize their methods.
She added that other than seeking for a secure job that can pay, teachers should love what they do and work towards inspiring change through their teaching.
“How have we made the teaching profession something to be desired?, we still haven’t got teaching to a place where people would desire it as a profession and therefore they are taking it as a vocation and they are going to work with it…our world has changed, we always have what is called “professor google”, you as the lecturer or teacher is no longer the fountain of knowledge, what else are you giving them? If you are not engaging them, they are bored, they don’t learn or do anything because what you are telling them, they can find”, she stated.