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Opinions of Saturday, 28 August 2021

Columnist: Ekow Djan

Calls to scrap teacher licensing examination retrogressive

Trainee teachers writing licensure exams Trainee teachers writing licensure exams

I have become aware of a statement issued by the Institute for Education Studies (IFEST) which is seeking to downgrade the position of the Minority Caucus in Parliament on the need to cancel the Ghana Teacher Licensure Examination (GTLE).

In IFEST’s statement, an erroneous impression was created that trainee teachers have come to accept the licensing regime. As a former national executive of the Teacher Trainees Association of Ghana (TTAG), I can authoritatively tell that nine out of ten trainees will reject the GTLE on any day. The GTLE policy is unpopular in the corridors of trainees.

Again, for IFEST to suggest that the Education Act, Act 778 makes room for the National Teaching Council( NTC) to conduct GTLE is factually inaccurate. Sections twelve(12) and thirteen(13) of the Education Act mandate the NTC to ONLY license and register teachers.

The qualification for a teacher to be issued with a license has been boldly stated in section 12 of the Education Act; that a teacher should possess at least an initial teacher certification. Under no circumstance does the act authorizes NTC to conduct examinations for trainee teachers.

It’s a fact that until 2020 that President Akufo-Addo’s administration saw the passage of the Education Regulatory Bodies Act 2020, Act 1023, there was no law backing the NTC to conduct an examination.

5. The NTC has rather deviated from its mandate. Since 2018, no teacher from colleges of education has been registered and even till now over 50% of teachers have not been issued with the license.

Clearly, the NTC is only interested in conducting examinations without issuing a professional license while candidates are made to pay Ghc 200 for a non-existing license.

IFEST is not interested in the mass failure of trainee teachers in the March 2021 GTLE and the rot being supervised by some officials at the NTC, rather channeling their energy in fighting the Minority in Parliament who is only seeking to ensure that the poor trainee is treated fairly.

Let it be on records that per checks, ALL 17000 candidates who earlier failed at least one of the three papers i. e Numeracy, Literacy and Essential Skills failed the same paper(s) when they were given the opportunity to resit in March 2021.

The NTC cannot point out to a single person who passed all three resit papers. The initial examination centers and same results of the candidates still appeared on their new result slips hence the confirmation that their papers were not marked. The NTC only re-awarded them with the same results without even changing their examination centers.

The NTC shamefully changed the examination centers after their attention was drawn to it without altering the results. This grand failure of NTC has been tolerated to some extent yet they claim to be the implementors of best teaching standards.

Some inner officers of NTC are demanding Ghc 1000 before they change the results of the unsuccessful candidates to pass. This is pure thievery. In the coming days, I shall invoke the authority of the National Intelligence Bureau to bring to book the officers who are perpetuating this crime at the headquarters of the National Teaching Council.

For the avoidance of doubt, as a former executive of TTAG, I hold no contrary view to the position of the Minority caucus. The GTLE is causing more harm than good hence the need to scrap it. If we really want to license teachers, the basis for issuance should be solely fieldwork. The competence of a teacher should be tested on the field and not at the examination hall.

IFEST claim of seeking quality education is neither here nor there. If indeed they are interested in ensuring quality teacher education, then they should be bold to call on the government to clear the seven-month allowance arrears owed trainee teachers.

IFEST should be bold to ask the government to pay seven-month feeding grant arrears owed colleges of education.

Dr. Peter Partey Anti and his team at IFEST should be bold to ask the government to post over 2000 newly trained teachers who have been denied employment.

IFEST should be bold to ask the government to reinstate the automatic employment of teachers.

If indeed IFEST has balls, it should ask the government to invest in constructing lecture rooms and hotels for colleges to do away with the double-track system they are currently running.

IFEST should ask the government to resume work on the GET FUND projects in colleges that were started in the 2015/16 academic year.

IFEST ultimately wants to tell us they have not seen nor heard about serial murder of the education sector— basic to tertiary— but Minority’s position on GTLE has fast reached their doorstep. The hypocrisy in this country is becoming way too much.