By Yaw Osei Adutwum (PhD)
Quality and accessible education remain a top priority of the government in spite of the pressures on the national budget.
Needless to say, galvanising resources for the attainment of the goal depends to a large extent on the vision and delivery of persons put in leadership positions.
It is in line with this that I have made myself available to serve the nation to the best of my abilities when my nomination as Minister of Education is approved by Parliament.
Ever since President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was sworn into office in 2017, he has on numerous occasions spoken about the need for all Ghanaians, home and abroad, to keep our hands on the wheel to build the nation.
The attainment of the “Ghana beyond Aid” mantra, therefore, demands the collective effort of all, irrespective of religion, social status, ethnic or political affiliation.
Although the nation might not have the financial muscle to attain this within the shortest possible time, it is nonetheless attainable over time depending on how leadership positions itself to ensure all hands on deck.
The era where poor and underserved children had limited opportunities for education advancement is becoming a thing of the past.
This is what I call “The Ghanaian Dream”. Never should any child, no matter which part of the country he or she comes from, be denied access to quality education.
It is worth mentioning that the introduction of the Free Senior High School by President Akufo-Addo is one of the ways the nation is preparing the citizens, especially the youth, to position themselves to be able to compete favourably anywhere they find themselves.
Training of the mind
Significantly, the current reforms going on in the education structure is geared towards ensuring that our children are trained to think critically.
The restructuring and various training programmes going on at the pre-tertiary levels are to ensure that all public schools train students up to international standards in a 21st century facility.
This the second term of the Nana Akufo-Addo government will work assiduously to implement to the fullest.
Clearly, the attainment of such a feat is not going to be an easy one and that is why I am determined to lead the changes, as directed by the President, to reach the promised land.
The way and manner the introduction of the Free Senior High School policy was met with stiff opposition and name calling by some people, but with determination and will-power ended up being hailed by all Ghanaians now, tells me that what we have set out to achieve in the education sector are attainable.
I call it ‘the Ghanaian Dream’. The dream and aspirations of every average Ghanaian is that our education should be able to shape the aspirations of Ghanaians for the transformation that we all seek.
“As the Education Minister, I believe that to prepare Ghanaian students to be career ready, schools need to teach and adopt the 4Cs of the 21st Century Skills which are Critical thinking, Creativity, Collaboration and Communication.
With the support of all agencies and other stakeholders such as teachers, parents and labour unions, coupled with the supply of education materials, this nation will soon separate itself from the old mentality about education development.
Even before my nomination as the Minster for Education designate, I had demonstrated this in the Bosomtwe Constituency during the past four years.
My vision of ensuring that Bosomtwe gets 100 engineers within the next 10 years is on course as 30 students are already studying at the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT), fully funded by me.
I know that targeting specific disciplines such as engineering and mathematics is what we need for our developmental change.
An academic resilient system means students achieving good educational outcomes despite the difficulties. This finds expression in promoting strategic planning and detailed practices involving the whole school community to help vulnerable young persons to do better.
The nation cannot afford to be left out while others take advantage of the current explosion of Information Technology to advance.
Everything possible is going to be done by my administration to leverage Information and Communication Technology to enhance quality teaching and learning at all levels.
It will be an understatement to say that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about many challenges to the various facets of the nation’s economy.
On the flip side, the pandemic has led to innovative ways of doing things.
To this end, I challenge all stakeholders in the nation’s education to partner the government to train students who will not wait for someone to employ them after their education but take advantage of things happening in their environment and country to create jobs for themselves and also employ others.
It is in the light of this that my ministry will be exploring ICT to build a resilient education system to bring educational transformation in the midst of the pandemic.
I want to assure all Ghanaians of my fullest commitment to help drive the nation’s education which, in the long run, will help facilitate poverty alleviation in the country.
The donation of my privately owned Senior High School (Osei Adutwum Senior High School) at Jachie in the Bosomtwe Constituency in the Ashanti Region to the government attests to the fact that I have come home to support President Akufo-Addo’s vision of Ghana Beyond Aid.
This is of course my way of also giving back to the community and the country after they had helped in training me to be able to travel abroad to pursue further studies and establish educational institutions in the United States.
The writer is the Minister designate for Education.