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The efficacy of the 1987 educational reform in Ghana: The case of social studies

Avotri, Ruby Selenu (1994) The efficacy of the 1987 educational reform in Ghana: The case of social studies. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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Abstract

A new educational system, which emphasised the development of affective objectives and the development of creative skills in addition to the development of cognitive objectives, was introduced in Ghana in 1987. To attain these objectives, the traditional formal education that was implemented in Ghana by the British colonialists was replaced with an integrated curriculum and several new subjects, such as social studies, which is the subject of this study, were introduced. It was anticipated that social studies which was intended to be taught through the inquiry process, would develop in students positive attitudes towards their society and the environment as well as specific cognitive objectives.

This study investigated the extent to which the objectives of the new educational system are being achieved. It specifically examined the extent to which the integrated curriculum in social studies has improved students' learning outcomes compared with the old traditional system that is being phased out. The study examines differences between students studying the old and the new curricula during the period that both were being taught by comparing students' cognitive and affective outcomes in the two systems of education. It focuses on attitudes towards society and the environment, of both second and fourth year secondary school students in the two education systems. Students' and teachers' perceptions of the classroom environment in relation to the practice of the inquiry process were also examined in order to establish the relationships between these and the students' cognitive and affective outcomes.

The study was carried out in two phases. First, research instruments were developed and pilot-tested in secondary schools in Ghana. The second phase involved the actual data collection for the main study, also done in Ghanaian secondary schools. The study reports on the differences observed between the two groups and examines the possible reasons for the findings, and the implications for educational practice in Ghana as well as in other developing countries.

The results of the study show that the objectives of the new education system are not being attained to the level expected by the initiators. Contrary to expectations, students who were studying the traditional curriculum generally showed better performance on all the variables measured. It was also established that the new education system is faced with many problems that need to be addressed to improve its effectiveness. For example, the analysis of the teachers' questionnaire responses shows that there were flaws in the implementation process in relation to the preparation of the teachers who were recruited to teach the new curriculum. Furthermore, it was likely that some of the problems that were identified by the teachers could have been prevented if the new programme had been evaluated in the experimental schools before it was introduced nationwide in 1987. Teacher training and evaluation procedures are two factors which emerged from this study as being particularly important in increasing the likelihood success of educational reforms.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Education
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: repository@murdoch.edu.au. Thank you.
Supervisor(s): Straton, Ralph, Andrich, David, Styles, Irene and Robinson, Judy
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/51428
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