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The Influence of Parental Training on the Education System in Ghana

Parents naturally have an influence on the future of their children. In terms of access to education, parents still play a vital role. Parental attitude with regards to education determines school attendance in a certain place. Their level of education significantly affects their children’s cognitive ability. Parents who are more educated can better assist their children when it comes to academic matters as compared to their less educated counterparts. Parents who have been more educated are more inclined to provide educational materials to their children acknowledging that such can be beneficial for their children’s cognitive development.

Similarly, they are more likely to engage in thought provoking conversations which allows their children to develop critical thinking. Indeed, a child’s academic achievement can be related to the level of education of his or her parents. The income level of parents produces an impact on the cognitive skills gap in children. While middle-income parents can afford to provide their children with educational materials to assist their learning prior to the actual start of schooling, low-income parents lack the means to give their children the access to similar resources.

This illustrates why certain socio-economic factor becomes part of the cause of the cognitive skills gap. Parents belonging to the low-income bracket would rather spend their limited financial resources on things they deem to be more important such as food and shelter. On the other hand, middle-income parents who can afford such educational materials can provide for their children the opportunity to gain some basic numeracy and literary skills prior to the actual start of schooling. Since middle-income parents have more financial resources than their low-income counterparts, it follows that they can provide better nutrition to their children.

Poor nutrition and poor living condition in general are among the contributing factors of the cognitive skills gap (Rothstein, 2004). The children’s cognitive skills are also affected by the type of occupation their parents have. This socio-economic circumstance particularly affects the reading habits of children (Graham, 1971). In cases where the occupation of a parent allows him or her to bring home some reading materials from work gives children the impression that reading is not supposed to be considered as a segmented inconvenience.

Such action exemplifies that reading is supposed to be regarded as a seamless activity which connects leisure to work (Rothstein, 2004). On the other hand, parents who are engaged in jobs that require menial labor exert a lot of energy during working hours. Hence, the moment these parents go home, they do not have enough energy to devote to other activities and would rather sleep to regain strength for tomorrow’s demands. Consequently, their children are not given the necessary motivation to read. As a result, the cognitive skills of these children suffer.

The aforesaid scenario contributes to the cognitive skills gap. The situations previously described are only some of the undesirable socio-economic circumstances that underprivileged children deal with the moment they undergo brain development which does not only have an impact on their cognitive skills. These things also influence their non-cognitive skills. This provides a considerable justification as to why more privileged Ghanaian children from the urban area seem to perform better in comparison to their rural counterparts (King & Hill, 1998).

Medical studies have shown that it is during the first few years of a human’s life that the rapid period of his or her brain development takes place. These studies also reveal that early childhood experiences have a lasting influence on a person’s future learning capacity (King & Hill, 1998). As it has been established that the socio-economic circumstances that Ghanaian children face has an effect on their cognitive skills. This situation produces serious policy implications. Having known this presents a clear idea of where concentration must be placed on the subject of education in Ghana.

In this light, a policy which can prove to be beneficial is one which is intended for children below school-age. This early in the lives of these children, policies must already address the aforementioned disparities identified in reference to the social class these children are from. Early childhood education programs which would allow children who are suffering from unfortunate socioeconomic circumstances to receive similar assistance and resources as that of middle class children will assist in reducing the basic differences and could serve as a common ground where all children can meet prior to the actual start of their schooling.

Studies on the subject of high quality early childhood development programs are in agreement that the kind of program previously described can generate considerable payoffs (Rothstein, 2004). In the United States, in particular, succeeding researches concerning underprivileged children who have taken part in such programs have established substantial proof of distinctly improved academic performance. In addition, these follow-up studies have also shown higher adult learning exhibited by the participants in comparison to those children who did not participate in such programs.

Moreover, these studies have also revealed a decline in the rates of criminal conduct among participants. Specific policies concerning adult education as well as parenting classes intended for parents belonging to the low-income bracket and who are themselves less educated, will help in bringing down the socio-economic difference at the onset and therefore the cognitive skills gap. Efforts extended by the government should not be focused on the improvement of certain low quality high schools in the intention of promoting educational achievements.

Such efforts will not effectively address the problem for the reason that inequality begins even before children reach first grade. In this regard, government efforts must instead be focused on the investment of additional resources for high quality early childhood education programs in order for underprivileged Ghanaian children to gain access of similar resources that their more privileged counterparts have been enjoying. In which case, all of the children can meet at a common ground.

References Graham, C. (1971). The History of Education in Ghana from the earliest times to the Declaration of Independence. New York: Routledge. King, E. & Hill, M. A. (1998). Women’s Education in Developing Countries: Barriers, Benefits, and Policies. Washington, D. C. : World Bank Publications. Rothstein, R. (2004). Class and Schools: Using social, economic, and educational reform to close the black-white achievement gap. New York: Teachers College Press.

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