Members of Parliament on Thursday expressed varied ideas when the Education Amendment Bill, 2010 was read the second time to review the duration of second cycle education from four years to three years.
Whilst the Majority felt it should hold for three years, the Minority on their side held that the old system of four years should still continue.
Mr Alex Tettey-Enyo, Minister of Education, who moved for the reading said the review was in consonance with the current government policy.
He said the three years option kept Ghana in line with other countries that wrote the West African Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination.
Mr Tettey-Enyo said results of some Senior Secondary Schools had indicated that they were capable of achieving higher performance, adding the only thing was to increase the number of qualified teachers to ensure quality education.
Mr Mathias Puozaa, Chairman of the Education Committee, said the Committee had observed that the memorandum accompanying the bill explicitly states the purpose of the bill as follows “to amend the Education Act, 2008, (Act 778) to review the duration of the second cycle education from four years to three years in accordance with the current government policy.”
He said, however, by the proposed amendment under section 1 (3) of the Bill, the House was being requested to consider and approve the reduction of the second cycle level of education for a period “not less than three years of senior high secondary education.”
The Committee was of the view that this was not the same as what was stated in the memorandum; this therefore implied that senior secondary education could be three years or more.
Mr Puozaa said the amendment was ambiguous since it still fell within the ambit of the current system of four years and, therefore, proposed an amendment to the Education Bill to read: 1 (3) the second cycle level of education shall consist of three years of senior high school education, technical, vocational, business and agriculture education, or appropriate apprenticeship training of not less than one year.
He said key areas that should be considered included education infrastructure and other inputs, equity and social justice, political commitment, human resource and efficiency.
He said the Minority said the Anamoah Mensah Committee’s report noted that the review should be subject to the readiness of the country to provide schools with all basic facilities and other incentives to enhance the performance of students but that the evidence available did not confirm that the country should revert to the three years programme.
Mr Haruna Iddrisu, MP for Tamale South and Minister of Communications, said Ghanaian students would like to build on the literacy structure of the WASSCE as their counterparts were having and called for support of the Bill.
Professor Dominic Fobih, MP for Assin South, said there were many rural schools without teachers and that 40 of the students in the Junior High School passed the exam, with 60 per cent not making it should they be left uncared for, adding that “This would be suicidal.”