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18.08.2005 Education

Make Distance Education Programme Teacher-Friendly -GNAT.

GNA

Bolgatanga, Aug 18, GNA- The Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) on Thursday called on the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports to examine the Distance Education Programme and make changes that would make it more Teacher-Friendly.

"If the Government has any plans to support patrons of Distance Education, then we would urge it to take the first step during this 2005/2006 academic year. It should start by initially absorbing all costs relating to tuition, which the teachers have to bear," they said. Ms Portia M.Anafo, Acting National President of GNAT who made the call on behalf of the Association during its second Quadrennial Regional Delegates Conference held in Bolgatanga, said it would be the only way to encourage more teachers to upgrade their skills.

She advocated for teachers in pre-tertiary educational institutions to be given the professional autonomy to work, saying that would enhance their initiative and enable them experiment and come out with new ideas on how to teach some subjects and also assess their pupils. She said the present system whereby they had to operate under false paternalistic arrangements which makes them take commands from their superiors some of whom were hardly more knowledgeable than them was adversely affecting effective education delivery.

Ms Anafo appealed to the teachers to do away with apathy and mistrust and rather remain united and strive to uphold and protect the image of GNAT.

She advised them to take up International Communication Technology (ICT) seriously so as to be able to move with the changing times. Mr. Boniface Gambila, Upper East Regional Minister expressed concern at the poor supervision of schools and teachers in the region. "We may not have enough trained teachers but we certainly have enough professional supervisors who should bring out the best of even teachers who are not trained. This has been achieved before in this country," he added.

He suggested that the low number of teachers in the region could be augmented with volunteer teachers to help out.

Speaking on the theme, Quality Public Education, The Concern of Everybody, Dr.Kpi Walters, Dean of faculty of Applied Science, University of Development Studies noted that the education given in the country was not Functional as it did not give the right results to befit an efficient functional education.

He said the education does not equip graduates at all levels well enough to enable them employ themselves, thus the many unemployed youth in the country.

"The right skills are not acquired because we have not put in the right, competent professionals who could impart the skills needed. Not only the professionals, we have not also provided requisite equipment and learning materials nor, have we created the conducive working environment for teacher and learner," he added.

Dr. Walters said educational structures should be established in such a way as to ensure that the system turns out products that become functionally literate and productive and have skills that they could use to create conditions they want for the society.

"Quality Education is not necessarily a system in which we have all the most sophisticated equipment we can fancy and try to teach the latest technologies. It is a functional education which gives the educated of its system the necessary skills to solve its society's problems of literacy, poverty reduction, and industrial production," he said.

Mr. Robert S. Atiiru, Regional Chairman, GNAT, noted that it was a true that some teachers performed poorly and did not give of their best to the pupils and said the association would do its best to encourage such teachers to do better. Aug. 18 05

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