African education system fails to produce critical thinkers – laments Dr Adutwum


The Minister of Education, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum, expressed great concern that the education system in Africa is not producing critical thinkers.

In effect, the system tamed pupils and students to ask questions by programming them to reproduce only what the teachers taught them during the exam.

He touted what Ghana is doing to change the situation at the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York in the United States of America, Dr Adutwum said this type of education cannot transform Ghana and the continent as a whole.

Comparing the situation to his experience in the United States of America, he described Ghanaian schoolchildren as good and respectful.

He noted that he visited a number of schools and whenever he asked the students at the end of his interaction with them if they had a question for him, no hands went up.

“What that tells me is that invariably we tame children. We just want them to write what we tell them. On the day of the exam, they have to write down what we told them and we say that you are the best student the country has ever known.

This type of education system will not transform Ghana. This type of education system is not going to give us critically minded individuals, especially since we are in the 21st century and in Education 4.0 – the fourth industrial revolution.

“You can’t memorize your way out of poverty, but you can think critically and innovate your way out of poverty.

“So Ghanaian schools, African schools need to start looking seriously at what I call an assertive curriculum; a program that empowers the African child to ask questions and challenge the status quo respectively within the African cultural context.

“But, not a program that tells the African child to shut up and say nothing when the adult speaks and to tell the adult everything he has been told.

“With this type of education system, I don’t care if we get to the point where every African child is in school.

“If you put them all in school and don’t change the way you teach them by empowering them, you still haven’t transformed Africa through education. We need to make sure we can get the critical mass with the critical minds that we need for our transformation,” he stressed.

Dr Adutwum wants Ghana and Africa to stop taming students and instead help them to assert themselves so that they can open up at any time and ask critical questions wherever they are during their their life.

In the contemporary world, the industry relies more on creative and innovative thinking than on memorization, hence the need for the country to produce critical thinkers.

The four Cs of education

Students who are critical thinkers come to realize the four Cs of education – collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, and communication, which makes them competitive in the global marketplace.

Learning nation

The Ministry of Education said it was on track with the government’s plan to transform Ghana into a “learning nation”.

Multiple reforms

Multiple reforms led by the government are needed to improve education in Ghana.

Education Strategic Plan

This ambition is anchored in the Strategic Plan for Education (PSE) 2018-2030, mainly in response to the objective of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 4) and revolves around improving the quality of “the ‘education for all’.

National capacity building

The main objective is to improve student learning outcomes and ensure an overall impact of education on national capacity building and socio-economic development.

3 Key Goals of the Education Strategic Plan

ESP 2018-2030 has three key objectives, namely improving equitable access and participation in inclusive education at all levels; improving the quality of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) teaching and learning and education to produce students and graduates who will be suitable for all levels and sustainable and effective management, financing and accountability of education service delivery.
The Ministry has also developed the electronic monitoring system – the Implementation Fidelity Tracking (FOI) system, which is used by key stakeholders to track implementation progress, identify challenges and take action. constructive decisions to improve implementation and accountability.

Ghana Accountability and Learning Outcomes Project

The Ghana Accountability and Learning Outcomes Project (GALOP), aimed at fostering closer collaboration to improve its education system, is also underway.

More reforms

Infrastructure development, teacher training, targeted teaching, parent engagement, textbook reforms, training of school leaders are some of these reforms.

First-ever standardized national test

The ministry’s first-ever standardized national test for fourth-grade students revealed that Ahafo, Bono East and Bono regions, which previously formed Brong Ahafo region, have become a solid base for the lower primary education.

After the math and English language test, P4 students in Ahafo region posted the highest average scores of 67% in English and 58% in math, while those in Bono region posted 65% in English and 55% in math, those in the Bono East area with 58% in English and 50% in math.

The Volta region has the lowest average scores of 34% in English and 27% in mathematics.

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