The Ministry of Education has sought to clarify some comments made by Mathew Opoku Prempeh, suggesting that University education will be reduced from four (4) to three (3), and also Junior and Senior High School graduates will be awarded diploma certificates, saying the Minister's remarks have been misconstrued.
Hon Opoku Prempeh, speaking at the 2019 Danquah Institute Leadership lecture under the theme: “World Class Education and Imperative for the Next Generation of Leaders,” is reported to have indicated that there are plans to upgrade the Senior High School certificate into a National Diploma certificate which can allow graduates gain employment after completion of their programmes.
“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,” he is reported to have said.
Apart from that, he added, government intends to reduce the duration for pursuing undergraduate degree programmes which is 4 years to 3.
But a statement signed by Vincent Attafuah, PRO of the Education Ministry, said the comments were ‘taken out of context’.
According to him, "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 would be awarded diplomas or any other certification to enable them seek work."
“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," the statement read.
The statement further noted that, Napo as the minister is popularly called, “mooted the idea of a national diploma for all SHS leavers, which will enable them to go into work, with those desiring to enter university then going on the write the WASSCE in order to do so. It will be noted that in the USA, all high school leavers gain a national diploma to enable them go into work, with the SAT examinations being a further requisite for those seeking to enter university.”