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EDUCATION

Basic four pupils to write National Standard Test in November – Minister

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Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, Minister of Education

All primary four pupils in public schools will, in November, this year, write the new National Standards Test (NST) to assess their knowledge, skills, values and attitudes, which is central to the new pre-tertiary education curriculum.

The National Standards Test is in response to Ghana’s Education Strategic Plan from 2018 to 2030, which prioritizes improving learning outcomes at all levels by creating a national standards-based assessment at the pre-tertiary level, to measure the quality of learning achievements before the end of Junior High School.

The Minister of Education, Dr Yaw Osei-Adutwum, announced this at the Minister’s media briefing, in Accra on Sunday, organised by the Information Ministry.

The briefing provided an opportunity for the Education Minister to update the public on President Akufo-Addo’s education policies and programmes and achievements chalked during the first term in government (2017-2020) and plans for the second term (2021-2024).

Dr Osei-Adutwum said as part of government’s quest to build a robust education system, it would introduce the National Standards Test to assess and generate evidence on students’ achievement against set national competency standards in literacy and numeracy.

The test, he said, would inform targeted remedial interventions to ensure that students achieve the desired proficiency in literacy and numeracy.

The basic four pupils would be the first batch to undergo the novelty test this year.

“The NST reflects increasing globalisation and interest in global mandate. It represents an overall shift in emphasis in assessing the quality of education inputs to learning outcomes,” he stated.

The Minister said the Test would not only improve learning outcomes, but also reduce “Learning Poverty” across the country.

According to him, it wouldn’t be beneficial for pupils to wait for 11 years before writing their first national examination, Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE), winch made it difficult to rectify literacy and numeracy challenges.

“As such, a periodic national exams on primary pupils will give the Ghana Education Service enough time to intervene in the lives of the children,” he stated.

“The World Bank talks about learning poverty, they say 53 per cent of students in their 10th year of various countries cannot read for understanding and Ghana is not an exception.

“That is why the President says we need to transform the space, and transformation of the space means that all fourth graders this year are going to be tested across the length and breadth of the country.

“Every one of them will sit for this exam so that we see the challenges that are confronting us as a nation, then we give them one year when they’re in primary five to make the necessary interventions,” Dr Osei-Adutwum added.

He said similar tests had been done in Singapore and other countries and would be a reality under the leadership of President Akufo-Addo.

The Minister called on parents and guardians to support government’s new initiative to develop and transform the education sector.“So parents, our goal is simple, we want to know whether your child can read or not and so a report will be generated and given to every single parent in this country in mathematics and literacy for them to really know whether their wards are doing well or otherwise.

“Then we will have the opportunity to track them longitudinally,” he emphasised.

The Minister also stated that government would capitalise on technology to digitise the education system to track the development of students.

He said a dashboard was currently being developed that would assess and evaluate the attendance and performance of both teachers and students in every metropolitan, municipal, and district assembly.

Source: GNA

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EDUCATION

Dagbong SHS probes ‘sexual gestures’ by students

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First year students undergoing the extreme initiation gestures

The management of the Dagban State SHS in Yendi in the Northern Region has begun probing circumstances that led to first year students of the school being ordered to perform sexual gestures as part of their initiation to the school by their seniors.

The immoral gestures were videoed and disseminated via social media by one of the students, causing anger among parents and other stakeholders of the school.

The Assistant Headmaster of the school, when DAILY GUIDE called him last Saturday said that “we have seen the video of the incident which occurred three weeks ago and we are very disturbed by it. “Management upon hearing about the incident ordered a probe into the circumstances which led to the action by the senior students.”

The committee which was ordered to probe the incident has completed it assignment, he said, “and would submit its report to the school authorities for action.”

According to him, the school is situated far away from Yendi township, and with most teachers not living on the campus such activities could not have been noticed by the authorities.

Continuing, he said that 70 per cent of teachers live off campus, making total control of the students impossible. The students live on the campus with the security detail, he said.

Narrating the incident, he said that “it is customary for seniors to initiate newcomers to the school by sometimes asking them to wash the motorcycles of teachers and other insignificant chores. Unfortunately, on that fateful day when they went to their dormitories, some seniors ordered the first year students to come out and undertake the sexual gestures which were videoed by one of the students and disseminated via social media.”

According to him, “we have identified the student who videoed the act. That student has fled the school as I speak to you.”

He assured parents and other stakeholders that “we shall do our best to ensure discipline in the school. Regarding this unfortunate incident when the report and recommendations for punitive measures are out, we shall implement them accordingly.”

—Daily Guide

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EDUCATION

TUTAG suspends strike

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The Technical University Teachers’ Association of Ghana (TUTAG), has suspended its strike.

A Press statement dated Saturday, June 19, 2021 and signed by the National President, Dr Michael Brigandi said the suspension of the industrial action is based on trust and confidence in the assurances by the Education Minister.

TUTAG in its statement claimed the decision is to give Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum the benefit of the doubt.

“After listening to the Education Minister, we observed that there are still individuals in political positions that citizens can trust. From our observations of his verbal and non-verbal communication, we could see the natural sincerity that was oozing from both this verbal and non-verbal communication. Our encounter with Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum was the beginning of the shift of TUTAG from mistrust to mutual trust, hence the decision to reconsider our position.”

It added: “Though our strike has been declared legal, and we could have decided to remain on strike till all our issues were resolved, we wish to inform the Education Minister that our decision to suspend the strike with immediate effect was based on our trust and confidence in his assurances. The word worthy of note is “suspend”. We are only suspending the strike to give Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum the benefit of the doubt”.

The NLC has directed government to resolve all outstanding issues by the association within 60 days.

The Association commenced a partial nationwide strike on Monday, June 14, to demand the payment of their Research arrears, negotiation of their conditions of service, among others.

Other demands by TUTAG included Tier-2 Pension payment, Accreditation of Technical University’s programmes, and Scheme of Service.

Source: Ghana/Kasapafmonline.com

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EDUCATION

SHS students resume school pregnant, wearing engagement rings

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Teenage pregnancy is rising at an alarming rate

Stakeholders in Education in the Eastern region are alarmed at the high rate of teenage pregnancy among students in both Basic and Senior High Schools.

According to some heads of Senior High Schools in the region, some female students resumed school pregnant and wearing engagement rings.

“Some female students returned to school pregnant and wearing engagement rings. They got impregnated and were forced into marriage. But the policy says you cannot sack them from the school so I allowed them to stay in school. I only asked them to remove the rings. In all this it will get to a stage they will drop out of school when the belly protrudes,” the Headmistress of Kwahu Nkwatia Presbyterian Senior High School, Mrs Cythia Anim said in a meeting in Koforidua by Girls Education Network formed by Plan International Ghana.

The meeting was part of the commemoration of the Day of the African Child marked June 16, every year.

The Headmistress who is a former Eastern Regional Officer of Girls Education at the Ghana Education Service added “although there is a policy by GES that the girls should be in school even when they are pregnant. We the heads of Senior high schools are in agreement with that government policy but we realized that the stakeholders have to go back to the drawing board and the government as a whole to review it…because the students are abusing it and doing their own things.”

She joined calls by other stakeholders advocating for amendment of aspects of the laws of Ghana that allows a person to consent to sexual activity at the age of 16 but could only marry when the person reaches 18 years.

This arrangement, they say exposes young girls to danger and create a window for people to take advantage of them resulting in the current alarming rate of teenage pregnancy among basic and Senior high school students in the country.

A total of 109,888 adolescent girls were impregnated in 2020 in Ghana. Out of the number 2,865 were between 10 and 14 years while those with ages between 15 and 19 years were 107,023.

The Eastern Region recorded the second-highest numbers in teenage pregnancy.

The Eastern Regional Girls Education Officer at the Ghana Education Service Patricia Birago said reports from the various Senior High Schools on teenage pregnancy among students are not pleasant adding her voice for the country to amend the sexual consent age of 16.

“Government is saying that a person can go to bed with whoever he chooses at age 16 so if a girl doesn’t start KG early by 16 she is in school and legally free to have sex and at age 18 can even go ahead and marry. So we have realized that our girls are getting pregnant and they even go and marry and come back to school with their rings on which is of very bad taste because we know at the basic level a girl should not be pregnant and marry if for anything at all it should be tertiary but with this clause where lie the power of school authorities to question girls who come to school with their wedding and engagement rings ”

The New Juaben North Director of the National Commission for Civic Education, NCCE, Ebenezer Acheampong concurred with the need to review sexual consent age in the face of the worrying trend of teenage pregnancy and marriages.

Meanwhile, Plan International Ghana has commissioned a data collection project and scientific diagnosis of the teenage pregnancy menace in various schools in seven districts; Okere, Akuapem North, Upper Manya Krobo, Atiwa East and West, New Juaben North and South which have a high rate of teenage pregnancy in Eastern region.

The Eastern Regional Unit Manager of Plan International Ghana, Kofi Adade Debrah, said the project is to critically analyze the situation on the ground for a remedy to improve gains made in gender parity at Basic and Senior High school level to tertiary and push forward highest decision making bodies in government.

Source: starrfm.com.gh

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