Free education is a good thing for national empowerment. As such, it has become a rule of thumb that parents want their children to excel. Without this push from the same parents, Ghana could not have produced a single professional. While celebrating the few brilliant ones, we, as a nation, have totally abandoned the average students. Check the massive ‘bombings’ in the BECE and WASSCE results nationwide. This should tell you something is wrong somewhere.
Ghana introduced the Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education (FCUBE) in 1996 and the Capitation grant policy (2005). These were to make every child access education in the public school at no cost. Like the Animal Farm “…some animals are more equal than others”, students with learning disabilities are crying. The disabilities include Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia, Attention Deficit Disorder, etc.
Dyslexia is characterised by difficulties with phonological processing, processing speed, and the automatic development of skills that may not match up to an individual’s other cognitive abilities.
Dyslexia makes it very difficult for a student to succeed academically in the typical instructional environment. For emphasis sake, I must caution that not every child with a learning disability is dyslexic. Let me update you on some specific challenges that may determine whether an individual is dyslexic or not:
• Difficulty learning to read and/or spell during your early school days.
• Having trouble learning how to read when you were in school.
• Having difficulty learning to tell the time.
• Mixing up left and right or have problems with direction.
• Getting letters, numbers, words back to front or jumbled up.
• Printed material appears to move or is blurry.
• Difficulty remembering the letters of the alphabet, names, telephone numbers, times tables.
• Reading slowly.
• Uncomfortable reading out loud.
• Omitting, transposing, or adding letters when you are reading or writing.
• Having speech difficulties.
• Finding difficulties concentrating and taking in spoken information.
• Having to read something two or three times before it makes sense.
• Avoiding work projects or courses that require extensive reading.
The frustrations of a student with dyslexia is like asking a carpenter to suddenly develop a website; it will not only be impossible but he will be justified to think of the task manager as crazy. You should now understand why it is unwise for teachers to flog some categories of students all in the name of resurrecting their academic performance.
Let’s hear the continuation of the free education matter. Access to free education is useless when students do not understanding what is being taught and cant ask questions. We are shooting blind if the teachers’ methodology encourages teaching instead of interactions. We have really misplaced our priorities when it comes to free education and methodology.
I see no reason why I should be enthused about which politician is promising free (SHS or university) education. My focus is entirely on improving the school curriculum to focuses on each child’s holistic development. The development should be backed with teacher motivation. In the absence of all these resolutions, our parade for free SHS/ university education will fail woefully.