The Eastern Regional Minister, Kwadwo Affram Asiedu said at the weekend that the aim of upgrading Teacher Training Colleges from Cert "A" to Diploma awarding institutions is to attract better qualified and competent students who would demonstrate genuine interest and attitude for learning and teaching so as to effectively implement the new educational reforms.
He said this would also prevent Teacher Training Colleges from being used as 'dumping grounds' for unemployed youth who take up teaching as a last resort.
Mr Affram Asiedu was speaking at a durbar to mark the 55th Anniversary and first graduation of the Diploma in Basic Education Students of the Abetifi Presbyterian College of Education, Abetifi - Kwahu. It was under the theme "55 years of quality Presbyterian Teacher Education and the New Educational Reforms."
The Minister said it is the belief of the government that the upgrading would help train motivated teachers who would be academically and professionally competent to effectively bridge the gap between the old system of teacher education and the Universities of Cape Coast and Winneba programmes.
Mr Affram Asiedu said government acknowledges the pivotal role that teachers have played and continue to play in the implementation of the educational reform programme.
He, however, encouraged them to exhibit a new sense of commitment and zeal in the discharge of their duties to make the reform succeed.
The Minister noted that the spate of moral degeneration in the society has brought into sharp focus the type of training being offered by the various academic institutions.
He therefore expressed the hope that the graduating teacher trainees would not conform to the prevailing norms, but as agents of change to propagate high moral standards in wherever they find themselves.
Vladimir Antwi Danso, Senior Research Fellow, Legon Centre for International Affairs was of the view that an educational system cannot run Parallel to the economic system.
He said the economy should create demand for the type of educational system a country needs, declaring that "unfortunately this is usually lost on planners."
Touching on the new educational reform programme, he said, "I do not intend to analyse the reforms. My concern however is its success and my contention is that unless we turn the economy into knowledge based, production oriented one, the whole edifice of the reform will collapse."
Dr Antwi-Danso noted that basically buying and selling economy cannot sustain the kind of beautiful reforms we have embarked upon. "As a political economist, my advice to government is to seek the needed interventions to turn the economy into a really knowledge-based, productive one," adding that a reform that would yield result cannot avoid cost.
Dr Antwi-Danso said, "In a neo-patrimonial economy like ours government is expected to shoulder the cost of education. This may be politically correct but economically insane."
Until quite recently, he said Ghana's budget was about 40 percent donor-propped, asking, "How can government pretend under such a circumstance that it could shoulder every burden? The result is that things are never done right."
The Principal of the College, Rev. Fred N. Appentey commended the government for its untiring efforts in the provision of infrastructure, equipment and staff to support the effective and efficient management and administration of the college.
He also expressed his gratitude to the government for coming in to assist in the completion of the multi-purpose Teachers Resource centre at the college and also the supply of some ICT equipment. The 224 out of 225 trainees who passed out were presented with certificates.
By Peter Abban