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07.09.2005 Regional News

Govt urged to upgrade Principals of Teacher Training Colleges


Tamale, Sept 7, GNA - Mrs Agnes Ofosu-Koranteng, President of the Principals of Teacher Training Colleges Conference (PRINCOF) has appealed to the Ministry of Education and Sports to institute, as a matter of urgency, a policy to raise heads of Training Colleges to "Director II" grade.

She said the Ministry should consider promoting all current heads of Training Colleges to the rank of Director II since most of them are holding Masters Degrees and have served for several years as Assistant Directors.

Mrs Ofosu-Koranteng made the appeal at the 47th Annual Conference of Principals of Teacher Training Colleges in Tamale. It was on the theme: "Teacher Training as the hub of education reforms in Ghana - The way forward".

The weeklong conference would offer the Principals the opportunity to discuss matters of crucial importance to the development and progress of teacher education.

The forum would also enable the participants to formulate new strategies, as well as review existing plans and update their approach to teacher education to meet the peculiar needs of the country. Mrs. Ofosu-Koranteng, who is the Principal of St. Monica's Training College at Mampong Ashanti, said the kingpin of any successful educational reforms was the training college.

"This is because training colleges produce the men, and women who eventually determine the success or failure of any programme and reform put forward by policy makers and the government," she said. She called on the government to resource training colleges adequately to empower them to turn out quality products for the socio-economic advancement of the country.

"If we keep training colleges impoverished and underdeveloped, we will surely turn out poor quality teachers who are only capable of producing nothing but shoddy work, which is a sure recipe for the collapse of any educational system".

Mrs Ofosu-Koranteng bemoaned the spate of examination malpractices in recent times, saying they seriously undermined the educational system and should be discouraged at all cost. She urged members of PRINCOF to discuss the issue at the conference carefully to find ways and means of effectively removing "this menace from our institutions".

The PRINCOF President appealed to the Ministry of Education to pay students' allowances on time to save Principals from the resultant unbearable stress and anxiety that they experience at the beginning of every academic year.

She also called for Valued Added Tax (VAT) exemption on food items for educational institutions, which purchase from VAT registered suppliers.

She said schools and colleges were currently finding it difficult to get VAT registered suppliers for most food items on the market. "Where the school or college succeeds in finding a supplier, the price quotations given by them are often three or four times higher than those on the open market", she noted.

Mrs Ofosu-Koranteng called on members of PRINCOF to be alive to their duties to get along with the changing circumstances in the educational sector to ensure the success of the educational reforms. Alhaji Abubakar Saddique Boniface, Northern Regional Minister, said education was a vital tool for the political and socio-economic development of every nation. "Education is the best weapon, against backwardness and underdevelopment. Education kills poverty, scatters ignorance, destroys disease and builds confidence," he added.