Primary schools need post graduate teachers – Professors assert

A group of professors and academicians poring over the future of Ghana’s education have suggested that the country works towards a stage where only persons with post graduate certificates will be allowed to teach at the primary level.

To achieve that, the group says government should abandon its decision to build more teacher training colleges and rather focus on improving the quality of the existing ones.

The group of educators – the Education Forum – even though acknowledged the efforts being made by the government to improve the situation, they indicated that the current system of education leaves much to be desired.

The group have since February this year been meeting every fortnight to discuss ways to better Ghana’s education system – at all levels. They are working under the auspices of IMANI Ghana with collaboration from other private and public stakeholders.

38 colleges; 28,000 students

Dissecting the country’s Colleges of Education, formerly Teacher Training College, on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show Friday, it was established that there are 38 of such colleges with a population of 28,000 students. The total figure is said to be about the same as one public university.

The ruling National Democratic Congress promised in its manifesto to construct 200 Senior High Schools, 10 Colleges of Education and one Public University in the Eastern Region. President John Mahama therefore appointed ‘three wise men’ – E. T. Mensah, Alban Bagbin and Cletus Avoka – to coordinate the implementation of the projects and other Presidential priority projects.

But the group of highly respected academicians are calling on the government to abandon plans to build more training colleges and suggest expansion of existing facilities.

They proposed that a more viable solution to the problem would be upgrading the existing teacher training colleges.

Cost effective

Former Rector of GIMPA, Professor Steven Adei said the idea is “splendid but the method is not the best”, he believes the existing teacher training colleges must be equipped and their facilities expanded.

“Of the 38 colleges the average intake is 400, which can easily be expanded to 800. That means you can double the teacher training immediately without any major infrastructural, administrative overhead which is more cost effective.”

He also noted that there is a problem with the quality of colleges and wanted the government to rather improve their quality.

Dissipate funds

Retired diplomat K.B Asante added that the move by government to build more training colleges will be a wrong decision.

He explained: “We believe this is not the right thing to do because it involves money and we need a lot of resources for education…yes teacher training is important but we believe that just establishing more teacher training colleges will not solve the problem, in fact it will dissipate funds into unnecessary areas.”

Neglected specialty

Prof. J.S Djangmah, a law lecturer at KNUST, was not enthused that after the upgrade of training colleges into a tertiary status, much has not been done to improve the quality.

“In terms of how many of [the colleges] have got teachers who have masters and yet all teacher colleges are really tertiary institutions, tertiary institutions means that they are really in university spheres of things so they should be looking more and more like the universities… So there is a quality issue, the country of course wants the best.

The ideal teacher at any level even in the primary school should be post graduate…that is where the whole world is, that is what teacher training is about in the whole world, so the issue of quality is extremely important.”

However, Deputy Minister of Education, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa told Joy News the ideas being proffered by the Education Forum have been considered already by the government.

He said, in fact, directives have gone to the colleges to admit to their capacity, adding that the government has shelved the usual quota that it gives them, and that is expected to increase admission to about 24%.

He said the government is also rolling out programmes to increase infrastructure at the colleges using GETFund.

Mr Ablakwa maintained that the 10 new colleges will focus on neglected specialty -that is early childhood development.

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