The Ministry of Education (MoE) has responded to claims made by the Minister of Education, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh that the Akufo-Addo government is planning to upgrade junior high and senior high school certificates to diplomas.
According to the Ministry, the comments made by the Minister were misrepresented and taken out of context.
Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh at the 2019 Danquah Institute Leadership lecture said: “The curriculum that will appear for the Junior High School will lead to a National Higher Diploma, [and] when you finish Senior High School, you get a National Diploma. It is not everybody who must go to the University straight, but we must prepare our kids for the world of work.
“And that National Diploma will ensure that our kids can go straight to work. If someone can go with the Middle School leaving certificate into the army, why can’t someone go now with Senior High School diploma into work? That should be good enough that anybody who has passed and has a certificate should be able to be employed provided we have prepared that person,”
“The curriculum that will appear for the Junior High School will lead to a National Higher Diploma. When you finish Senior High School, you get a National Diploma. It is not everybody who must go to University straight, but we must prepare our kids for the world of work,”
In a statement to shed more light on the statement, the MoE said the minister’s “comments have been misrepresented and taken out of context.”
“The minister did not state that junior high school graduates would be awarded a diploma. Indeed, given the government’s commitment to redefining basic education to include senior high school, in respect of which the Pre-Tertiary Education Bill is in Parliament, it is inconceivable that the Minister would suggest that Junior High School graduates will be awarded diplomas or any other certification to enable them to seek work,” the statement said.
According to the ministry, the minister mooted the idea of a national diploma for all SHS leavers which will enable them go into work, with those desiring to enter university then going on to write the WASSCE just as it is done in the USA where all high school leavers gain a national diploma to enable them to go into work, with the SAT examination being a further requisite for those seeking to enter into the university.
The statement further said the minister sought to ignite a conversation on whether all senior high school students should write a university entrance exam such as the WASSCE, given the diversity of learners in the senior high school system.
Touching on the aspect of media reports that there are plans by the government to reduce the number of years spent by undergraduates at the university from four to three years, the ministry’s statement said: “The minister referred to the need for a strong and robust pre-tertiary education structure and noted that with such a system, a discussion on whether the current four-year undergraduate degree could be reduced to three years.
“Indeed, the minister referred to the fact that prior to the 1987 reforms that saw the shift from the A level to the senior high school system, an undergraduate degree was three years, similar to and that in the case of the University of Ghana in particular, the first year was non-scoring referred to as First University Examinations (FUE).
“The minister in his speech sought to trigger a national dialogue to potentially reconsider reverting to this undergraduate model, on the basis of a much improved and more robust senior high school curriculum so that students can be adequately prepared for a three-year undergraduate programme.”