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Opinions of Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Columnist: Paa Kwesi Arko Cee

A letter to the President of Ghana

Dear Mr. President,

May you kingly have, with the highest respect to you, the goodness to attend to the pressing issue as to whether the 2018 year group of Ghanaian trained teachers whose final results have been released and expecting their postings from September should return to their respective schools again to write yet another examination which came after they have successfully undergone their three year certification program.

Sir, the National Teaching Council, herein referred to as NTC, is unfavorably demanding the afore-mentioned year group of teachers to return to school for a license exams that had not been known to be part of their certification process in their three year diploma program, without consideration to the fact that the new policy came after the year group has been admitted and were leaving school.

When this year group was admitted into the Colleges in the year 2015 the certification process as at then included a two-year on campus program with a one-year off campus attachment and which upon completion would lead to the awarding of Diploma in Basic Education certificate by the University of Cape Coast without taking another external examination. All the exams written by this year group under their curriculum were conducted externally by the University of Cape Coast.

Those who failed and could not redeem themselves in a re-sit exam were gracefully advised to leave the colleges. Therefore as we speak, the list of all trained teachers of the 2018 year group whose results are in, except those who had an issue with the July exams, have competently and successfully undergone traditional and professional training as teachers and deserves without question to be posted to a basic school to teach without question.

Your Excellency, the free SHS was begun with new entrants. Moving from three years SHS to four years began with new entrants. The return from four years to three years SHS policy started with new entrants. Moving from Certificate to Diploma in Colleges of Education began with new entrants. Introduction of Bachelor Degree in Colleges of Education is going to begin with in October 2018 with the entrants; they skipped those already in the colleges, the 2018, 2019 and 2010 year groups. Why then is it that the licensing is taking a different modus operandi?

Sir, according to the NTC, teachers who are already in the system will not write the license exams. But did the 2018 year group and those on the field not have a common certification process?

Also if the license is that crucial, why is it for only teachers who want to teach at the GES and not those who are teaching at the private schools? Can one practice as a private doctor or lawyer without license? Why is it then not compulsory for all? Are pupils in private schools not under GES supervision? And are these not even the preferred institutions for the wards of top elite people?

And Sir, ordinary graduates with diverse backgrounds from tertiary institutions are offered classrooms to teach for their national service when they haven’t had any education background. Now the NTC is telling us that, these professional trained teachers cannot teach again if they have not acquired their license.

Elsewhere, where special colleges of education do not exist to train staff for the classrooms, license exams are conducted for interested university and other tertiary graduates with diverse backgrounds in order to determine their competency before they are employed into the education sector. On the other hand, here in Ghana we have special colleges of education with teacher educators who train teachers.

What this license exams means is that we can close the colleges of education down, conduct NTC exams for interested tertiary graduates and recruit them into the chalk profession. Moreover, the mere fact that teachers in some countries possesses license do not make us needy for one. Teachers elsewhere enjoy better services too.

Moving forward, I suppose the University of Cape Coast should release the final results of the 2018 year group of trained teachers to the NTC. The NTC following that should award the license to those who passed because they have successfully passed the certification requirement they were admitted into. If this cannot be done then the license subject should wait, when the bachelor degree enrollment begins they can implement the policy.

For it is disturbing that while an innocent and competent staff has what has been known to be their final exams that should lead to the awarding of their certificates and waiting to be posted, they have to pay another fine to register for another exams.

Again, assessing teachers who have been produced by the teacher making university, the University of Cape Coast by another body challenges the integrity of work done by the institution. I hope you will pay attention to these substantive issues in the next few days. Thank you and may God bless you.

Paa Kwesi Arko Cee
Fosco