Over the weekend, I joined a gathering of senior members of the Ghana Education Service (GES) and the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NaCCA) as well as a number of education experts, at their maiden meeting to discuss and decide on certain aspects of the new curriculum for Junior High Schools and Senior High Schools. We put our heads together to envisage the future of learning and decide on the various purposes we want the curriculum to serve.
First, we do not want our children to perceive JHS as an “end point” after their national exams. Therefore, we are redefining basic education to include secondary education. The students will therefore be reoriented to seamlessly enter SHS as they do from primary 6 to JHS1. Now that SHS is free, I believe the biggest hurdle has been jumped.
Second, we want our education system to prepare students for the world of work by the time they have completed SHS. What we believe should be altered is the system we currently operate, where the same standards are set for people looking to use their certificates for work and those who want to progress to higher education. The A1 to C6 requirement is acceptable if one is seeking a place in a tertiary institution but for one looking for a low to middle level of jobs in society, they must only prove basic competencies. This has led to the suggestion of a National Higher Diploma Certificate for all who finish high school. Those who will like to continue to other tertiary institutions can then opt to write the West African Secondary School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
Third, we want our children to embody global competencies by the time they complete their senior high school education. Therefore the curriculum will be updated to match 21st century needs and practices with pedagogical skills embedded in teachers to ensure they instill some vital competencies in the students needed to navigate the world today.
I would like to state that this was only an initial of many meetings to come in the redesigning of the curriculum for JHS and SHS. The GES and NaCCA will along the way consult experts in education, some of the biggest employers, stakeholders and will sample some of the best practices from around the world that fits our terrain. It is my hope that by the end of this exercise, we will be left with a curriculum that will speak to the needs of our society.