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Opinions of Saturday, 1 May 2021

Columnist: Desmond Allotey-Pappoe

Continuous teacher professional development: Value, expectations

Continuous professional development of teachers play an integral role in improving learning outcomes in schools.

Teachers’ continuing professional development (CPD) has become a major focus within the school reform and school improvement literatures because of the belief that student learning and success are due, in large parts, to the effectiveness of teachers (OECD, 2009).

In 2005, MOE/GES with support from JICA set the pace to operationalize CPD at the basic education level with a series of engagements leading to a nationwide INSET programme from 2009 through to 2012 before the policy was eventually enacted.

Though, the impacts haven't been phenomenal, the new wave of reforms, noticeably Teacher Education and Curriculum reforms have illuminated and solidified the significance of CPD among teachers with its solidification effectively evidenced by the on-going NTC registration and licensing as well as clause 16 of the CoIlective Bargaining Agreement (CBA)

In furtherance, clause 24 of the CBA sanctions GES to "organize systematic in-service programmes as a means of improving the efficiency and effectiveness of employees".

It also adds that the "Service shall award certificates free of charge to all attendees and be responsible for the provision of all logistics during
in-service programmes.

Efforts to institutionalize CPD

Knowledge is evolving continually thus, the need for teachers to upgrade and hone their skills. According to GES (2013) the aim of the national CPD is to establish an institutionalised structure for continuous professional development of basic school teachers.

The release of GH¢354 million in November 2020 as CPDA to 279,546 professional and 22,071 non-professional teachers under Ghana Education clearly testifies to the commitment to prioritize CPD within GES.

Also, the granting of functional licenses to CPD service providers like GSET, EDMAT, Exams Ethics, Sabre Education etc, and the establishment of a National Teachers' Standard as well as teacher portfolios etc settle as manifestation of the CPD institutionalization agenda.

As we journey towards the final stages of the registration and licensing process, there will be a new phase for teachers to new undergo CPD, build portfolios, adhere to prescribed standards and professional ethics and to renew licenses.

Expectations

Teachers are expected to acquire new skills, and reinforce existing skills to improve the quality of teaching.
The developed professional portfolio evaluation rubrics is indicative of the structure and competencies that will be used to evaluate the performance of teachers to justify their professional development.

The nature of assessment and expectations include:

CPD comprises

1. mandatory programmes (essential trainings that every teacher is expected to attend through Professional Learning Community (PLC) programmes such as SBI, CBI, DBI).

2.Rank based programmes (training programmes expected to be attended by teachers in specific ranks, classes, subjects or positions to deal with specific issues in relation to their assigned roles.

3.Recommended programmes (trainings which are recommended by NTC based on needs assessment).

4.Portfolio building (detailed record of training programmes and activities attended by a teacher within a specified period, that is, between the issuance of the license to its renewal).

5.The license is renewable every three years on condition that the teacher has lived within the confines of the code of ethics and professional standards, met the required CPD points at the current rank within the 3year
TCPD cycle and passed the portfolio assessment.

6.At levels, where the academic calendar runs on three terms, a minimum of 9 supply driven trainings (3 per term) is required.
For a two term semester academic calendar, a minimum of 12 supply driven CPDs (6 per semester) is expected.

7.Registered teachers have two(2) years to earn the minimum credit points stipulated for their ranks.

Senior Supt II (Rank 1), Senior Supt I (Rank 2), Principal Supt (Rank 3), Assistant Director II(Rank 4) Assistant Director I (Rank 5), and Deputy Director Rank 6) will be required to have a TCPD points of 70, 75, 80, 85, 90, 95, 100 respectively.

8.There are suggested activities and programmes labeled from A to G that each teacher (based on the rank) is expected to undertake in order to earn TCPD points. Whereas activities under Categories A, B, C, D, E fetch TCPD points of 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 respectively, programmes relating to Category F reward a point of 10 and that of Category F generate 20 points.

9.The mandatory courses to enhance TCPD growth include National Policy on Education, History of Education in Ghana, Teacher Education in Ghana: Past, Present and Future, Sociology of Education, Professionalisation of Teaching in Ghana, Citizenship Education, Education Law (Act), Educational Psychology, Guidance and Counselling, Curriculum Development, Instructional Methods, Information and Communication Technolog, Instructional Communication, Language and Communication Skills, Classroom Based Assessment, Action Research and Reflective Practice, Educational Leadership and Management, Professional Ethics,Education of Persons with Special Needs/inclusive education, Subject Content and Methodology (e.g. challenging topics), Micro Teaching/Teaching Practicum/mentoring practices, and Social Dialog.

10.Teachers who fail to obtain the minimum TCPD points on the third year of the current rank shall not be recommended to renew the teacher license and would therefore not be recognised as a teacher of good professional standing.

In conclusion, the institutionalisation of continuous professional development and instruments to evaluate teacher quality for appraisals, promotions, placements, renewal of licence etc is on course and it's important teachers upgrade and develop their skills to promote learning outcomes

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