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Opinions of Wednesday, 24 June 2020

Columnist: Desmond Allotey-Pappoe

Degree education: A case for in-service teachers

Recent years have seen a plethora of pleasing reforms projected at refining the pillars of the education sector to commensurate with global expectations.

One particular dazzling reform to overhaul Pre-service Teacher Training is the Teacher Education reforms, specifically the upgrading of the College of Education to Universities affiliated to the five main public universities.

According to Adegoke (2003), education is a condition for development and the teacher is the ultimate definer of its reality. Teacher quality remains indispensable as an ingredient for learner outcomes thus, the idea for degree certification (with three-tier specialization levels) for Teacher training is progressive and meritorious.

The above which is pivotal for the institutionalization of degree certification as the minimum requirement for pre-tertiary teaching in Ghana has also birthed the scheme for a 15-18 month top-up (post-diploma) course to be introduced for level 300 COE diploma students.

However, this resounding aim to prioritise on teacher training and ensure pre-service and in-service teachers are equipped with the right core of skills, values and experience to respond to the needs of the 21st Century is inharmonious with the implementation process at in-service level

There exist a cornucopia of flaws in the policy implementation strategy at the "in-service teaching" level. The reason being that, as the policy trumpets for teachers to upgrade and build their capacity, also is mass rejection and relegation of in-service teachers who have upgraded to "degree".

Understandably, in-service teachers ( with degree) in expectation for their professional status to be recognised and endorsed are condemned to wait in perpetuity even after serving 7 years ( on the rank of SSII in most cases )

One thing of interest in the wake of the Teacher reform policy is, why in-service teachers (with a diploma) be required to serve for 4 years or more before granted approval for a 2-year post-diploma programme- all culminating to 7 years when pre-service teachers only need 4 years to obtain their degree. This is not only demotivating and problematic but also cast a slur on the Teacher reform policy process

For policies to transcend and bear required fruits at pre-service and in-service level, there is the need for a holistic approach in the implementation strategies- an approach that divorces itself from disenfranchising and demoralizing in-service teachers.

If the new wave of reform is for every teacher to upgrade professionally to 'degree' and deliver quality learning outcomes in schools, then teachers who have studied approved degree courses and honed their skills and competencies deserve to be duly appreciated and their current professional status be validated pronto to reflect the wisdom and dictate of the reforms

Desmond Allotey-Pappoe

M.Ed(Educational Administration and Management)

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