4. Quality Education
Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
This goal generated so much discussion between the trainers (who are mostly teachers in the various second cycle institutions) and the students.
We as usual put forward our standard questions of finding out from the students their understanding of the goal.
This exercise took place in all the regions; Ashanti, Central, Eastern, Greater Accra, Volta and Western.
- What is education?
- What is quality education?
- How will they describe the kind of education they are receiving now? Quality?
- Is lack of education a threat to the security of a nation?
- Is lack of quality education a threat to the security of a nation? Is it even a goal that must be pursued?
- What must children, young people and women when they are denied quality education?
- Is the goal a realistic one?
- Should children, young people and women work to pay for quality education?
- What roles can children, young people and women play towards accessing quality education?
- Their solutions under the microscope.
- Did they know of the existence of the UN Sustainable Development Goal on Quality Education?
- Can their solutions be translated into a short creative film for competition?
The workshops and forums on this goal were the most vibrant and well attended by far. Due to the presence of some of their teachers, the children and young people shied away from talking freely. In view of the fact that some of the students felt that some of the factors that mitigated against quality education had to do with teachers, they were uncomfortable to air their views freely. The fear of their contributions being reported to their teachers also presented us with the challenge of not getting the children to talk.
In the end, we came to a compromise with the teachers that this particular goal be handled by the trainers of trainers while we had smaller sessions with the teachers. We also grouped the children and young people into smaller groups ending every time with the plenary session. The findings were challenging;
- The overall consensus was that for the UN Sustainable Goals to be achieved, there is the need to combine both the formal education and informal education. We tried to find out which should be given more attention; the formal or informal?
There was a stalemate across the six (6) regions, a very surprising phenomenon. The children and young people situated the discussion around the conditions of children and young people in Ghana. They argued that since Ghana is yet to come to terms with quality education, it is imperative that the informal education received from parents and guardians must be quality.
They proposed quality adult education in the local languages to those who may not make it through formal education. Children and young people championed the call for effective and quality adult education/literacy in local languages.
When it came to cost of education, the children and young people agreed that to have quality education in the present system in Ghana, one needs to pay outrageous amounts of money in school fees from the basic level, through the secondary level and through tertiary education.
Quality education in Ghana it was concluded by many of the children and young people is a preserve of the rich. They overwhelmingly came to the conclusion that free quality education in Ghana could be a mirage.
- The lively discussions saw resource persons from Ghana Education Service, Ministry of Education, Clergymen, Members of the Creative Societies and some Security Personnel.
A group of local government practitioners who were having a workshop in University of Cape Coast joined us in one of the workshops and added heated discussion to an already charged atmosphere. The local government practitioners expressed surprise at the knowledge and depth of the children and young people. The children and young people took advantage of their presence and really engaged the practitioners.
Forty-three (43) trainers of trainers, one hundred and thirteen (113) teachers, seventeen (17) local government practitioners, forty-nine 49 resource persons, over one hundred (volunteers) and over six thousand (6,000) students attended the workshops.