Ministry of Education has denied reports of plan to issue diplomas to JHS grads

Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh

The Ministry of Education has denied that junior high school graduates in the country will be issued with diploma certificates.

Sector Minister Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh was quoted to have announced plans to upgrade junior and senior high school certificates into national diploma to enable graduates gain employment.

“The curriculum that will appear for the Junior High School will lead to a National Higher Diploma, [and] when you finish Senior High School, you get a National Diploma. It is not everybody who must go to the University straight, but we must prepare our kids for the world of work.

“And that National Diploma will ensure that our kids can go straight to work. If someone can go with the Middle School leaving certificate into the army, why can’t someone go now with Senior High School diploma into work? That should be good enough that anybody who has passed and has a certificate should be able to be employed provided we have prepared that person,” he was quoted to have said.

But the Ministry explained in a statement Monday that Dr Prempeh’s comments were misrepresented and taken out of context.

“The Minister did not state that Junior High School graduates would be awarded a Diploma,” the statement said, and that he only referred to the need for a strong and robust pre-tertiary education structure and noted that with such a system, a discussion on whether the current four-year undergraduate degree could be reduced to three years.

The Ministry said the Dr Opoku Prempeh “sought to trigger a national dialogue to potentially reconsider reverting to this undergraduate model, on the basis of a much improved and more robust senior high school curriculum so that students can be adequately prepared for a three -year undergraduate programme”.

It said he again sought to ignite a conversation on whether all senior high school students should write a university entrance exam such as the West Africa Senior Secondary School Examination given the diversity of learners in our senior high school system.

“The Minister mooted the idea of a national diploma for all SHS leavers, which will enable them to go into work, with those desiring to enter university then going on the write the WASSCE in order to do so.

“It will be noted that in the USA, all high school leavers gain a national diploma to enable them go into work, with the SAT examinations being a further requisite for those seeking to enter university.

It said given the government’s commitment to redefining basic education to include senior high school, it will be inconceivable that the Minister would suggest that junior high school graduates would be awarded diplomas or any other certification to enable them to seek work.