Good morning members of the press herein gathered. On behalf of my colleagues, l welcome you all to this very important press conference.
As educators, we are the pillars of the nation-building process and for that matter, we deem it a sacred duty to state our position once again on the on going debate concerning the Licensure Examination.
We want to on put record that on September 6, 2021, we had a press conference on the need to incorporate the Licensure Examination into the teacher preparatory program and there are copies here for your perusal.
Education, as we all know is like the air we breathe and as such when the air is being polluted it poses danger to our lives irrespective of one's social status, religion or tribe.
Against this background, all stakeholders are concerned about quality teachers as a factor in ensuring significant academic achievement.
It is obvious many people are unaware of the requirements for graduating from an accredited tertiary institution as a teacher in Ghana.
After studying courses such as educational technology, curriculum, principles and practice of teaching, measurement and evaluation, instructional methodology, guidance and counseling, modern trends in education and other educational subjects, the leaders of this country claim that such graduates are not qualified to enter the teaching profession.
In addition to these courses, these graduates participate in on-campus teaching practice, off-campus teaching practice (internship), and engage in project works (research) before receiving their certificates and are obligated to undergo one year of mandatory national service.
If all of these endeavors are insufficient to qualify these graduates for teaching positions, and only some few hours examination can validate their eligibility, then......?
The Licensure Examination, should not be given any decorative painting in the public domain to look like the game changer towards ensuring quality of teachers coming out from the Colleges of Education and Universities. It is not!
Ladies and gentlemen, we would like to find out from those opposed to the cancellation of the licensure examination and its incorporation into the teacher preparatory program to tell us how this examination has impacted the knowledge and method base of teachers over the period?
Its aim of ensuring quality education and professionalism in the teaching sector, has become rather an albatross of negative impact on many graduate teachers making it now doing more harm than good.
The statement by the President of The Colleges of Education Teachers Association of Ghana (CETAG) Prince Obeng Himah, we consider, ridiculous, mind boggling and hypocritical as he has said that the "Association considers the Teacher Licensure Examination as a good initiative and hence shouldn't be cancelled".
Is Mr Prince Obeng Himah, telling us he is unware of the rigid structure and lack of adequate preparatory materials make it an overwhelming challenge for many graduates?
Why is incorporating the Lincensing part of the teacher preparatory program a headache to some of them, is the current system a gold mine for the likes of him?
Is he not ashamed that after 4 years of handling these graduates and they have passed all exams in the preparatory program of teacher professionalism and few hours teacher licensure examination to tell the world that 80% have failed and not qualified to teach?
It is obvious it has become an avenue of extorting monies from unemployed graduates hence his disagreement to proposal by HE John Dramani Mahama for its cancellation and incorporation.
While the examination aims to evaluate the teaching competence of graduates, the current system falls short in the provision of comprehensive guidance and support to adequately prepare the graduate teachers coupled with limited availability of relevant study materials, practice tests, and coaching programs for the graduates to fully grasp the exam’s requirements.
It is shocking to us to note that Mr Franklin Cudjoe, the President of IMANI Africa also said looking at the "type of anwers prospective teachers provided in the recent licensure exams( LE), he would be wary cancelling an entry barrier like that which should temporarily sieve the growing 'chaff' from the limited good lot" This his assertion to us is a warp logic.
One will ask, when has Mr Franklin Cudjoe become an examiner of the needless Lincensure Examination that has made him gotten access to answer booklets of graduates? I think he should come and tell the public.
Our caution to Mr Paul Adom Okyere the host of Good Evening Ghana, is for him to do a deligent work on subject matter and stop displaying gross ignorance on it on his show.
Ladies and gentlemen of the press, the statement by the Deputy Education Minister Rev. John Ntim Fordjour that HE John Mahama Dramani lacks vision and that he only cancels and threatens to cancel good policies at every opportunity" is unfortunate and can never be the case.
How come that he Rev. John Ntim Fordjour is an appointee of a visionary leader, yet still we are running a Standard - Based Curriculum without textbooks?
Interestingly, there are no government textbooks for Junior High Schools but those currently in for three (3) would be writing BECE just next year.
It is important for him to focus on how to provide textbooks, furniture and other teaching materials to aid effective work in our school environments.
Today, the norm in our schools across the country is that parents
had to contribute money and buy textbooks published by Authors for teachers to be used in teaching their wards.
Many of colleagues are still yet to receive their TM1 Laptops after years of deducting their monies.
Capitation grants are hugely in arrears and putting undue pressure on school management.
There are a lot of teachers denied promotions though they are due and thousands of teachers still owed salary arrears and it is psychological effects on them.
In a weak education system under his watch, teachers are not equipped with what they need to teach effectively, they cannot rely on appropriate support mechanisms, and are not motivated to do their best. We are calling on them to address the ugly tendencies.
Ladies and gentlemen, education should not be a partisan issue.
Providing equitable and quality education for all learners is at the interest of all as we all know that it is education and enlightenment that lift a nation to the heights of progress and greatness.
There is the need for reforms on the mode of teacher Licensing for it to benefit both graduate teachers and the education system.
In that case, a robust preparation should be done as part of the teacher preparatory program so that after completing school one is qualified to teach.
In conclusion, the Ghana Teacher Licensure Examination as introduced with the intention of ensuring quality education is a quota system in disguise, has proven to be more detrimental than beneficial to graduate teachers and the country.
For the fact that the burdensome nature of the examination, inadequate preparation, limited assessment of practical teaching skills, and the implications it has on employment opportunities call for urgent reforms and hence the need to cancel it and incorporate it in the teacher preparatory program. In this regard, we affirm HE John Mahama's position on its cancellation but incorporation in the teacher preparatory program.
It is prudent for us as a nation to create an examination system aimed at fostering a brighter future for both aspiring educators and Ghana’s education system as a whole than trying to use Licensure Examination as the sole magic to ensure teacher quality.
We thank you all for coming. God bless our homeland Ghana!