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18.08.2005 Education

All levels of education system to be staffed with trained teachers

GNA

Cape Coast, Aug. 18, GNA- The Minister of Education and Sports, Mr. Yaw Osafo-Maafo, on Thursday reiterated government's commitment to the full implementation of the FCUBE programme.

He said it has, in this regard decided that by 2015 all levels of education will be staffed with professionally trained and competent teachers.

Mr. Osafo-Maafo, said this in a speech read for him at the opening of an international conference on 'teacher education' at the University of Cape Coast (UCC) on the theme: "Quality Teacher Education: the challenges of the 21st century."

The conference, which is jointly being organised, by the Faculty of Education of the UCC and the Unilever Ghana/Myles Hagan Chair of Teacher Education, also of the UCC.

More than 500 teacher educators, researchers, scholars, policy makers and administrators, from Ghana and Nigeria are attending the four-day conference which, among others, aims at providing a unique opportunity and atmosphere for the participants to exchange perspective and experience as well as chart the way forward for teacher education. The Minister, underscored the important role teacher education plays in meeting national development aspirations, societal and individual needs, and said as a result, all teacher training colleges have been upgraded into diploma-awarding institutions to train more teachers at the diploma level to be deployed right down to the kindergarten stage. Mr. Osafo-Maafo, stressed the need to bridge the gap between theory as taught in teacher education institutions and the practice on the field, adding that, "teacher education programmes should develop school-college partnership and form professional development schools for effective training of teachers."

He also noted that the quality of education partly depended on the quality and relevance of the curriculum of teacher education and asked that the content of the pre-service teacher education programme should be critically examined to ensure that the appropriate level is taught and the right caliber of students are admitted.

He said to ensure quality education in the country, a number of programmes, including the remedial programmes for teachers without the minimum requirement to enter teachers training colleges, modular and competency based training courses and distance education course for non-professional teachers have also been put in place.

Other programmes such as the establishment of teacher training council, improvement of the conditions of service to make the teaching profession attractive and to inspire confidence and efficiency, incentives for teachers to accept transfer from urban centres to rural as well as the mounting of special training for teachers who opt for guidance and counselling have also been pursued to enhance teaching and learning in the country.

The Minister observed that on a global scale, there was the challenge to establish a reliable database that would facilitate fruitful exchange of information among teacher education institutions for the institution of effective changes in teaching and research.

The Minister, tasked the participants to dedicate themselves to the "great mission" of revamping teacher education to serve as the catalyst for achieving the objectives of education strategic plan and work programme between now and 2015.

Professor Yoshinori Tabata, Associate Dean and Professor of Educational Development, of the Hiroshima University, Japan, for his part, underscored the importance of information technology in education, stressing that the modality of teaching and learning has changed and many countries were shifting from teacher-centred to student /learner-centred way of teaching.

This, he said, has brought about competition, and many more teachers now want to upgrade themselves and suggested the introduction and strengthening of in-service teacher training and teacher evaluation system to evaluate teachers' competencies.

He noted that the quality of education largely depended on the quality of teachers, facilities, curriculum and textbooks and that many countries have therefore, been trying to improve the quality of teachers through enhancing their knowledge, skills and attitude and stressed the need to recruit capable persons into the teaching profession.

The Reverend Professor Emmanuel Adow Obeng, Vice-Chancellor of the UCC in a speech read for him, said there was the need for a collective responsibility to ensure that education system functions as the cornerstone and the vehicle for rapid socio-economic transformation of the nation in the 21st century.

He pointed out that the improvement in the mode of teacher education was the surest guarantee for raising the standard of professionalism of teachers and of education in the country.

Rev. Prof Obeng, noted that quality education demanded people to re-orient their thinking towards work and quality results, stressing, "if we as educators will cultivate a positive attitude towards work this could be imbibed by the students that we teach and thus permeate the whole educational system and affect the whole spectrum of the society."

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