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Deputy Minister urges psychologists to conduct policy-driven research

Accra, Aug. 17, GNA- Mrs Gifty Twum-Ampofo, a Deputy Minister of Education in-charge of Technical, Vocational Education and Training (TVET), has called on psychologists to support the Ministry by conducting policy-driven research, whose evidence or findings could inform educational policies.

She suggested that when deciding to conduct educational research they should consider selecting research topics with relevance for policy as well as encourage their students to do same.
“Related to the above is the need to also prepare and share with the appropriate officers, policy briefs based on a systematic review of the state of evidence on educational issues”, she added.
Mrs Twum-Ampofo said this at the Ghana Psychological Association’s (GPA) Fifth Public Lecture and Annual General Meeting in Accra.
The event, which registered psychologists of various sub-fields, was held under the theme: “Attaining Quality Education: Untying the Knotty Issues”.
Mrs Twum Ampofo said though it is multidisciplinary in nature, education is predominantly an applied field of psychology.
She said to enhance quality education there is a need to have low-cost innovative teaching and learning materials (TLMs) that could easily be scaled up; increase skill sets of teachers, and low-cost innovative ways of delivering content to students.
The Deputy Minister said this means that psychologists ought to create innovative TLMs, effective pedagogical methodologies, and contribute to the actual training of future educators.
She said another important domain that deserved attention was special education adding that there is a need to be able to effectively identify and provide remediation for students who might have special needs.
Mrs Twum- Ampofo called on GPA to assist in developing guidelines that could be shared with the Ministry on psychoeducation to identify children with special needs and remediation of same.
Professor Joseph Osafo, Head of Psychology Department at the University of Ghana, said the biggest challenge in Ghana’s education over the period was that, policies and its implementation lacked the inputs of psychologists.
He said with a survey conducted on 2000 students, the data showed, bullying was a major problem in schools; from junior high school to secondary school, so by the time they get to the secondary school they are at their peak.
He said in the area of career guidance, the data showed there were a good number of students who were attempting to kill themselves because they were living the dreams of their parents.
“I think we need to begin to look at the mental health framework for our educational system in Ghana; there is no health without mental health”, Prof Osafo added.
Dr Collins Badu Agyemang, National Vice President of GPA, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, said they were in highlighting how psychologists could support education and its reform in the country as this is very vital.
He said at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) centres, they checked the eyes of drivers, but it is time to start considering their mental health state as well before issuing license- this would help reduce road accidents in the country.
“The road rage, insults and anxieties that drivers do put up being private or commercial drivers, it is about time, as part of also job creation, we consider how psychologists can help with assessment of the mental health state of drivers before we give them their licensure.
Dr Agyemang also proposed that considering the number of tertiary institutions there is the need to have an assessment, integrated into the admission process of students, to find out the mental health states of new entrants.
More so, he said, “we should think about introducing mental studies as part of our secondary school curriculum”.

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