Posted by: rumnet | May 3, 2012

Pupils’ Performance Still Appalling in Tamale Metro

(Published in the May 2012 Edition of the advocate)

By Joseph Ziem

 Research reports on pupils’ performance at the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) in recent years in the Tamale Metropolis, continue to show that results have been very abysmal with little or no sign of improvement, although some measures have been put in place to address the problems identified by government and various stakeholders over the years. 

For instance, between 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010, the Tamale Metropolis secured 60th, 69th, 88th, 91st, 89th, 98th, and 103rd positions respectively, out of the 134 Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) nationwide whose pupils wrote the BECE throughout those years.

Against this background, TAMBSNET (Tamale Metropolitan Basic Schools Parent Teacher Association/School Management Committee Network), a body established to facilitate developing strategies that would improve performance of pupils in all public basic schools in Tamale, commissioned a research work in November 2011 to find out what could still be the remote causes of poor performance among public basic schools. The research work was commissioned by TAMBSNET in collaboration with Wuni Zaligu Development Association (WUZDA) and Northern Ghana Network for Development (NGND).

The research focused on six basic schools located in six communities in the Tamale Metropolis including Kasalgu, Vitting, Datoyili, Kanvilli, Kakpagyili and Sheshigu. Key findings of this report were focused on Parent/teacher attitude, pupils’ attitude towards learning, teaching/learning materials, teacher/parent relationship, classroom infrastructure, pupil/teacher ratio, teacher performance, enrolment rate and parental care/responsibility.

At a stakeholders forum held recently, TAMBSNET launched the research report that identified the causes of pupils’ poor performances to include inadequate support from government, lack of commitment of teachers, pupils and parents among others. 

Teachers 

The report, said some teachers drive away pupils for non-payment of Parent Teacher Association (PTA) levy without prior notice to their parents. It also gathered that some teachers have cultivated the habit of reporting to school late, poor teacher-parent relations, lack of accountability by some head teachers as heads of schools and perception of some teachers scaring away pupils with severe capital punishments.  

Some teachers refuse to teach and spend their time sitting under sheds discussing partisan politics and other social matters of interest to them, the report added, citing female teachers in schools where they happen to be many.

According to the report, some teachers refuse to report the negative attitude of some pupils to their parents thus further worsening their poor academic performance in school while many teachers were also spotted by the assessment not providing class assignments to pupils to enable them improve academically.

Pupils’ Attitude Towards Learning

The general outlook also indicated that pupil’s report to school late, dodge classes regularly and refuses to do assignments given them. Besides, most of the pupils according to the report were seen using mobile phones, playing games and cultivate the habit of early sex drive. There is misuse of the internet as some pupils do not show much interest in learning in class, it added.

Lack of Parental Responsibility

The report further mentioned that among all the six (6) schools visited by researchers; only one was kind enough to report about irresponsible parenting, as many parents do not care to complement government’s effort to educate their children. To a large extend, it was discovered that some parents do not monitor their children to determine whether they are actually taking their studies serious or attend classes at the times/periods approved of by Ghana Education Service (GES).

Logistical problems

Other evidence sought out by the research as contributing to poor schools performance include inadequate classroom furniture, English, Maths, Science and Environmental Studies textbooks. Also, while some schools had their classroom constructed with wood and mud, most schools visited by TAMBSNET researchers found no Information Communication Technology (ICT) facilities/internet.

Solutions To Challenges Affecting Quality Education In Tamale

The research noted that to increase the quality of education in the Municipality stakeholders should:

  • Strengthen (PTAs) and School Management Committees (SMCs) capacity on how schools can effectively be managed in line with GES guidelines
  • Enhance capacity of civil society organizations who are engaged in policy advocacy to help monitor Metropolitan Municipal and District Assemblies plans and budgets to fulfil channelling required funds to education
  • Organize periodic training that will help improve relationship amongst teachers and between teachers and parents
  • Ensure establishment of Guardian and Counselling Units to facilitate  and assist pupils in techniques in effective learning
  • Develop the culture of maintenance of existing facilities/infrastructure instead of letting them collapse before a new one is constructed to replace them 

Observation/Lessons Learnt

There is little knowledge in most parents what constitutes parental responsibility and that of the teacher. Many parents still expect the public purse to support all the requirements of basic education. Thus, there is a vast gap between policy enactment and implementation, and the lack of good will to research or identify gaps in policies and act quickly to reform workable policies to replace those found to be weak to deliver quality performance among pupils.

Recommendation/Suggestions By Report

The research offered the following recommendations:

  • There is the need to increase skills in stakeholders in basic education to enable them to keep monitoring plans and budgets allocated to education by the MMDAs in order to stimulate public awareness on spending in basic education
  • There is also the need to keep strengthening and increasing capacity in social accountability tools for existing vibrant CSOs to whip up their interest to enable them help community groups to become more effective to monitor budget allocations to basic education. Besides, supervision in schools by both authorities of GES, PTAs and relevant education stakeholders to identify issues that will well place pupils in better position when they sit for examinations is also important.

Since its inauguration in May 2007 in Tamale by GES officials at the Tamale Metropolitan Assembly, TAMBSNET has carried out series of activities to improve performance in public schools in Tamale.

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