We need the Ghana Education Service (GES) to educate us on whether pupils in the public basic schools are obliged to present crafts to be awarded some marks in their end of term examinations.
As far as we can recall, arts and craft, many decades ago, was an opportunity for pupils to demonstrate their artisanal brilliance, when they presented handicrafts for marks.
Items that were presented then, included palm frond brooms, fans made from palm fronds, doormats made from straw and coconut husks, and, on market days, the mature female students sent some of the items to the markets for sale.
The proceeds were spent on some basic wants of the school.
In those days, parents made sure that their children did not miss out presenting arts and crafts, because it enabled the pupils to unearth their artisanal talents.
A fortnight before the D-day for pupils to present their arts and crafts was a period pupils spent in the bushes fetching raw materials for their handiworks.
Same cannot be said in today’s education, as teachers prefer soap, bowls, beverages and sometimes, cloth, to what really defines art and craft.
It is shameful to state that today’s teachers brazenly specify what they want their pupils to present to them as art and craft, and woe betide the pupil who did otherwise.
Some teachers and headteachers go to the extent of sacking pupils home for their art and craft, or sorrowful marks would be awarded the pupil in his/her terminal report.
In some schools, pupils are given some strokes of the cane on their buttocks before they are driven home for their art and craft.
We do not know whether the private schools have that bad culture, however, we still implore the GES to come out clear on this subject.
Parents who have wards in the public schools would observe on their wards’ terminal report that their total marks drop because they could not present a more expensive ‘art and craft’ to their class teacher.
Our teachers and headteachers have more questions to answer, because, for us, we cannot understand why a dunce pupil would come fourth or fifth in class, because the pupil presented some costly item as ‘art and craft’.
We need the GES to investigate this irresponsible conduct by some public school teachers and headteachers, whose cruel demands are stretching the income levels of the poor parents whose child is in the public basic school, where education is free.
The investigation should be extended to the rural basic schools also, where most of the teachers demand food produce as art and craft.
At Brewaniase, second capital of the Nkwanta South District, Volta Region, for example, some pupils were sacked home by their teachers for art and craft.
There are similar happenings in Tema and Ashaiman, where pupils in the public basic schools are sent home for the modern-day art and craft.
If art and craft shall remain an item on pupils’ report cards, the GES should define what it is to their teachers, because parents cannot continue to afford what today’s teacher considers art and craft.
Today’s teachers cannot define our understanding of art and craft, and we need the GES to call its teachers to order.
In any case, do we even need art and craft on the terminal reports of our pupils?