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Effective leadership and management, key to improved performance - Education Minister

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Effective leadership and management is the key to improved performance of students in educational institutions, thus, every head is encouraged to lead and manage his or her school well.

The Minister for Education, Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, stated this when she addressed about 500 Heads of Senior High Schools (SHSs) at a one-day meeting to strategize to improve upon performance of West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE) in Mathematics and Science  in Kumasi.

According to the Hon. Minister, poor performance of students in the WASSCE was worrying to government and other stakeholders and was therefore critical to deliberate on areas of concern to reverse the trend for good.

She observed that there was a direct link between heads of schools and students performance and urged the heads to ensure that they supervise teachers lessons notes and teaching time to confirm the presence of teachers in the classroom.

Prof. Opoku-Agyemang revealed that statistics from WASSCE results and the Chief Examiner’s reports over the years have revealed the real causes and factors of failures in examinations.

The Minister noted that under the Secondary Education Improvement Project (SEIP), expanding access, providing quality teaching and learning materials, the progressively free SHS education policy in which government has so far released GHc12.2 million and the school mapping portal, were the key pillars underpinning the project.

She said the focus of the Ministry was to improve teaching and learning of mathematics and science and thus the expansion and equipping of science resource centres in about 300 SHSs between 2013 and 2015.

Additionally, she disclosed that, about 150 laboratory technicians and more than 1,000 science and mathematics teachers, selected from 125 SHSs across the country, have been trained under the science resource centres project.

On leadership and management, heads of the selected low performing schools have been trained whilst ICT has been integrated in the teaching and learning of mathematics and science all under SEIP with the World Bank support.

Prof. Opoku-Agyemang, stated that her ministry will now on, demand for results and reports from heads of these beneficiary schools to be able to assess these huge investments, adding that the Ministry’s expectations were very high.

The Minister also made it clear to the heads that they had direct responsibility towards preparing students for examinations and so should support their teachers adequately in that regard to reverse the continuous poor performances of students in the WASSCE.

Touching on syllabuses, Prof. Opoku-Agyyemang, asked heads to ensure that teachers covered their syllabuses and not resort to conducting extra classes.

The Minister announced that the appointment of heads will be reviewed in due course to ensure that those appointed, produce results, or be held accountable for poor performance of their students, stressing that school leadership and management was critical in getting good results.t

Still expressing concern about some of the causes of poor performances of students, she said past WASSCE questions should serve only as a guide and the students taken through the syllabus, whilst admonishing teachers to discontinue the habit of skipping some topics they considered difficult.

Prof. Opoku-Agyemang, told the heads that, the Ministry was looking up to them to put in their maximum efforts to improve the current worrying results of students at the WASSCE.

Hon, Kyeremeh commended the heads for attending the meeting and appealed to teachers to make their schools attractive for parents to want to have their children admitted into them.

Mr. Enoch Cobbinah, Chief Director of the Ministry, in taking the heads through an overview of the programme for the meeting, stressed on accountable performance as already stated by the Minister and urged them to take note.

The Chief Director noted that five countries including Ghana, take part in the WASSCE and there is room for Ghana to learn from their experiences.

He took the heads through the sessions line up for the day such as a presentation on WASSCE performance ranking by school, responsibility of heads of schools in ensuring improved performance and preparing students for WASSCE, causes of failure in WASSCE, and factors to consider in preparing students, managing the teaching and learning of mathematics and science for results among others.

The Deputy Minister for Education in charge of pre-tertiary, Mr. Alex Kyeremeh, expressed worry about the poor results of students at the WASSCE in the two subjects, describing them as unacceptable.

He said that both the Ministry and the GES, will collaborate to provide the necessary support to heads and teachers to improve the situation.

As a practical demonstration of efforts by the Ministry and GES to improve WASSCE results, copies of training manuals in Integrated Science and Core Mathematics Modules for SEIP were presented to all the selected Heads.

The main objective is to increase SHS teachers’ content and pedagogical knowledge and provide new skills to enable effective teaching and learning in the schools.


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