Why the results are bad

SHARE   |   Sunday, 15 March 2015   |   By Morena Monganja

The 2014 BGCSE results are bad. To be frank they are horrible. Everybody has got something to say about what could be the problem and the solutions to this unfortunate situation we find ourselves in. The usual monotonic government is to blame, teachers are to blame, the students are to blame and the parents are to blame have not yielded anything positive in the last couple of years. The answer to why the results are these poor and embarrassing is found in how we treat education, as a public commodity rather than a private commodity. Just compare and contrast the results from private schools to those in public schools.
At primary level and secondary, there are significant and impressive gain in enrolment but the quality is very low. At tertiary level universities are not training students for jobs that the market is demanding. All these problems are because we are treating education as a public commodity. It is financed out of public funds. The parents with money are taking their kids to private schools and they are doing well. We all know this.
The problem with this situation is here, teachers are paid by the government and they become accountable to the government and not to the students and their parents. If it was a private commodity provider (teacher) would be accountable to the customer (parent and student). The problem is this lack of accountability.
Note that the argument for public financing and provision of education is often made in terms of helping us the poor. But it is the poor who are losing out on quality education. I am well aware that by privatising the education sector, the move could close out a lot of the poor. I say do it. What is the use of having of having a system that produces garbage at all levels and protecting it at all cost? We should, and must do away with the mentality of accepting the offer put on the table.
What can be done?
Improve service delivery and accountability; hire teachers on performance based contracts. Promote those who produce results and remove from the system those who don’t deliver. Pure and simple. Or better make education a private commodity and regulate the market. Public education is failing, and as usual the losers are us the poor.
Morena Monganja

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