Ghana’s educational structure is progressive, and it is set-up to produce the labour needed to feed the various sectors and industries of the nation. As such learners after high school enter into the various tertiary institutions depending on which sector, they want to join in contributing to nation building.
On other hand, the nation also has different tertiary institutions to accommodate learners’ career interest and to guide labour distribution into the various sectors. Thus, there are the universities, health institutions, Colleges of Education (CoE), security services training etc.
This article is a critique of the tertiary system run in the Colleges of education (CoE) and the treatment meted out to learners in these tertiary institutions.
There is a subculture in the Ghanaian society, as subliminal as it may be, that CoE are post-secondary (an upgrade of High school) and not an actual tertiary institution. This is clearly demonstrated in how colleges of education are run and how learners are treated.
These treatments have ripple effect on how they are seen and treated when they graduate to become teachers. No wonder the society sees teachers in a demeaning way.
Oppression or Discipline
Under the guise of discipline, learners in CoE are made to scrub toilet, have weeding plots and are expected to do routine chores just as high school learners but unlike their friends in the Universities. There are stories that some learners even go to their tutors houses to do chores and others go to pound fufu for them.
There is a siren for learners to sleep, wake up, go for grounds work and even go to dining. In this modern day and age, where in the world will you hear tertiary students being treated this way?
The intimidating system run in the CoE makes learners timid and cower before superiors. They have little room to constructively challenge authority and make critical decisions.
The training in some colleges of education is even worse than senior high schools.
Meanwhile, their colleagues doing exactly the same teaching courses at UEW and UCC including distance students who will be posted to same schools to teach same students do not go through such intimidating and oppressive training.
So why do we subject learners in Colleges of Education to such oppression as if they are inferior to others in the universities?
Learners in colleges of education have uniforms and strict code of dressing. They are demanded to wear certain kind of hair, anything different is not allowed. The idea of uniforms is so teachers do not dress indecently on the field after graduating. Unfortunately, this is not achieved as teachers wear the hair and attire they prefer to class.
Other profession like nurses, lawyers and security services wear uniforms during their training and continue to wear uniforms during practice. However, it is not so for teachers.
Learners in CoE are demanded to adhere to strict dress code (not so for teachers receiving same training in UEW or UCC). They have house jerseys and ceremonial dresses which they are to strictly adhere to. How can we be doing this to tertiary students especially now that they are universities not just colleges?
All these even ends at graduation unlike nurses and other profession. Teachers wear their preferred attire during practice. So, what is the essence of the strict code of dressing if it’s never going to be applied in the actual teaching field?
A need for change
The explanation someone gave for this oppressive training in the CoE was that they want to train a holistic teacher who can also train and impart positively those they teach. But the question is, those who are also doing educational courses in UEW and UCC (some even distance) who will equally be posted to teach, don’t we want such people to be well trained? How come they are not subjected to such oppression, yet they are expected to be professional and deliver same results. Is it because we don’t regard CoE and learners there as tertiary and thus have to enjoy tertiary privileges?
These oppressive training have little sbearing on teachers work in the class.
It is time Colleges of Education and learners there are respected and accorded the same dignity and privileges we give to their colleagues in other universities, especially now that they are universities. They are not inferior to those in KNUST, UG, UEW and UCC just because they decided to be trained as teachers in CoE.
By Solomon Nana Kwame Ansong