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09 August 2017

Extending school closing hours won’t yield quality – Educationist

An educationist has advised the Education Minister to consider other priorities since there is no proof that the proposed extension of school closing hours will not immediately enhance teaching and learning.

Country Director of NGO, World Education, Susan Adu-Aryee who has been working with basic school pupils across the country, believes the Ministry should undertake a research to seek answers to whether the longer or shorter school hours is more beneficial and better.

“I don’t know the rationale behind extending the school hours because you would first have to find out how it is affecting teachers and parents,” she told Joy News’ Israel Laryea Wednesday.

There are mixed reactions from some parents and guardians on a proposal by the Education Minister, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, for extension of closing time for pupils at first cycle institutions.

At a National Education Sector Review forum in Accra, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh proposed as part of reforms for the sector, the revision of closing hours from the current 2 pm to 4 pm to enable parents to pick up their wards after work.

“School closes to too in this country. At 2 pm schools have closed…where are the parents?…Those on farms are not back from farms and public servants are not back from work. Why can’t schools close from 4 pm?

“We are talking to the regulatory body, National Council for Curriculum Assessment (NACCA), to begin to reason for the working Ghanaian parents,” he added.

But some parents Joy News spoke to, disagreed with the Minister saying that their children sit for extra classes after school.

“By 4 pm to 5 pm, I know I should be wrapping up with work to go and pick them from school. I know some parents also complain that because they close early they cannot come there.

“That is only a form of arrangement so I believe it is better for the Education Ministry to leave things as they are,” one parent said.

But another parent who agreed with the proposal said it would give the teachers and pupils more contact hours.

“That would mean an increase in efficiency in teaching and learning and at the same time give parents breathing space to pay less for extra classes.

“It also means that government would have to motivate teachers more so they teach well to avoid parents paying for extra classes,” another parent said.

However, the educationist wants questions about quality family time, the issue of student burnout and what the longer hours will be used for.

“There are lots of questions to ask but we need to look at the Ghanaian context before and find out what suits us best.

“Once we know the rationale, if it is for quality teaching and learning which would work, then so be it [but] if it is not, then we need to consider other things,” she added.

She believes it is preposterous to assume that parents will not be home when their children return from school since there are no statistics to base the argument on.

According to her, it is important to also factor in what time students get to do their assignments with the extension of the hours.

“Are they going to do it while they are in school or are teachers going to focus on children who need extra time,” she quizzed suggesting a research before implementing any such policy. 

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