Vice President of policy think thank, IMANI Ghana, and Lecturer at Ashesi University, Kofi Bentil, is outraged over a science text book teaching kids that the human head is used for carrying load.
Mr. Bentil, who first raised an alarm about the ‘error’ on Facebook, is suggesting an immediate withdrawal of the books from the system.
The textbook, ‘Natural Science for Primary Schools- Pupil’s Book 1’, which was authored by Prof. J.A Quarm who holds a BSc and Mphil in Biological Sciences respectively, depicted the human head as primarily used for ‘carrying load.’
That depiction in the textbook, which went viral on social media, has angered many Ghanaians who say the book is sub-standard.
Speaking on Eyewitness News, Mr. Kofi Bentil said the text book is unworthy to be used in the primary schools since it seeks to stereotype and belittle the thinking capabilities of pupils from that early age.
“It looks funny but it is a terrible thing. The child’s brain in particular is very impressionable; you put things in it and they are going to stay there and they are going to work all kinds of things in his or her life, going forward.
When you say that the human body parts perform different functions…and you are telling the person that the function for your head is for carrying loads and for nodding, you are belittling the thinking of the child. This kind of thinking minimizes our children’s ability. It [textbook] should be withdrawn ” he suggested.
He clarified that the the head is not basically used for carrying loads as the text book suggested since it [The Head] performs more important roles.
“The head is not for carrying loads, we do that because we do not have the wherewithal to handle things better.”
He argued that although Ghanaian children have been familiar with people carrying loads with the head, it is not the right thing to do, arguing that, but for the lack of development and other factors, the proper practice as it’s done in many developed countries, would be for goods to be conveyed using machines and not the human head.
Is the textbook certified by GES?
Also commenting on the development, the Vice President of the National Association of Graduate Teachers, (NAGRAT), Angel Karbonu, expressed his reservations about the textbook.
He further wondered whether it was approved by the GES before it was distributed to the various schools.
“That write up is absolutely wrong, it is absolutely unacceptable but let us ask ourselves whether the book in question is a prescribed textbook by the Ghana Education Service or it is a textbook that is written by somebody and it is being sold on the market because we have books prescribed and approved by the Ghana Education Service, that serve as official textbooks for children; and we also have books that have been printed by individuals that are being sold in the open market.”
Mr. Kabornu emphasized the need for the publication of various textbooks to be regulated to address such problems.
Teacher petitions Ministry over error-ridden text books
In November 2015, a similar situation occured when a Junior High School teacher, Phanuel Yaw Ayawly, petitioned the Ministry of Education to withdraw some Integrated Science Textbooks for Junior High Schools for what he called unpardonable errors.
Phanuel Ayawli said the textbooks were full of grammatical and typographical errors and had been in use for the past three years.