Lower secondary is the weakest link in our education system – Dr Adutwum

Minister of Education, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum has said that the Junior High School System (JHS) lacks the desired quality to produce competitive students and graduates for the country.

He noted that the current JHS system does not favor “weak” or disadvantaged students, adding that there are no advanced facilities that train students for their career path.

Speaking at a press briefing on Sunday, the MP for Bosomtwe said the current JHS education is not strong enough to prepare students for higher education unlike the old intermediate system.

According to him, the country has created “a monster [when] we took away what used to be the college, which allowed people from disadvantaged backgrounds to catch up with others” in 1987.

“I think the weakest link in the education system is college because others will go to college and do quality secondary work; if you meet these students at Wesley Girls, they’re ahead of the curve, and they’re going to do a lot better than you.

“We borrowed a concept from the United States… three plus three but we decided that the first three [JHS] is not something that will concern us very much. You have to do something in the middle of the week, which happens to be college,” he said.

Ghana passed new legislation in 1987 which abandoned the then college system and replaced it with the JHS system, making the duration of basic school education nine years instead of the previous 10 years.

Previously, the Education Act 1961 introduced Free Compulsory Basic Education (FCUBE) for all children of school age.

Currently, students who complete the three years of lower secondary take a national test in order to qualify for upper secondary.

Candidates who pass the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) are then able to continue their education at secondary level under the flagship Free SHS policy.

The Bosomtwe MP alluded to plans being put in place to overhaul and revamp the college.

“We have junior high schools that are currently under construction and the facilities there will be like high schools; everything from high school will be there.

“It’s a pilot program, and the students who would take it would have had three years of quality high school, would move on to high school to do another three years, giving me six years to make them competitive and have us compete with the rest of the world” , he assured.

Janice G. Ball