Prof. Joseph Kingsley Aboagye, Director of the Institute of Education of the University of Cape Coast, (UCC), has advocated a review of the entry requirement for admission into the country's Teacher Training Colleges.
He suggested that the current aggregate of 24 or better, that qualifies students for admission into the training colleges, be raised to aggregate 22 and better, like what pertains in other tertiary institutions. Speaking at a two-day international conference on teacher education here, last Thursday, Prof. Aboagye explained that some of the students admitted into the teacher training colleges were sometimes of "sub-quality standard" and called for the adoption of adequate measures to raise the standards of teacher training in the country.
The conference, on the theme: "International conference on teacher education in Sub-Saharan Africa: issues, prospects and challenges", was attended by participants from Ghana, Nigeria, Lesotho and Zambia, including teachers and lecturers from the universities and teacher training institutions.
It was organised by the Faculty of Education of UCC and sought to create the platform to strategise how to improve teacher education in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Prof Aboagye further stated that since teacher education is crucial for sustainable development, there was the need for it to conform to modern changes. He therefore called for the adoption of innovative ways of training teachers as well as the strengthening of the educational system.
Prof. Aboagye also called for the improvement in the level of motivation of teachers to sustain the number of experienced teachers and prevent them from leaving to other sectors.
The Vice Chancellor of UCC, Rev Prof. Emmanuel Adow Obeng, in his keynote address, stated that the Sub-Saharan Africa region needs a large number of well-trained teachers to transform the present state of education in the region.
He stressed that the teacher constitute a very important element in the achievement of the Education for All and the Millennium Development Goals set globally for all countries. He said that the sub-Saharan region had the highest number of out-of-school children and mentioned that the number decreased from 42 million in 1999 to 33 million in 2005 with 54 per cent being females.
Rev Prof. Obeng noted that the rate of illiteracy is high in sub-Saharan Africa than any other region in the world.
That, he said, constitutes a major challenge to African Governments in meeting the learning needs of the large number of illiterate youth and adults in the region.
He mentioned the absence of coherent policies in teachers professional training and development and the inability of existing teacher education institutions to take on the required numbers of new trainees to fill the teacher shortages as some of the challenges in training systems in Africa.
Prof Obeng also noted that the content of many teacher training programmes do not focus adequately on reflective practice, active learning, innovation, creativity and partnership building.
"There is often a disjuncture between the training provided and the realities of the classroom, schools, their communities and the world of work," he added.