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03.10.2005 General News

GES has 24,000 untrained teachers - Official

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Accra, Oct. 3, GNA - There are currently about 24,000 untrained teachers, accounting for about 17 per cent of the teaching workforce in basic schools, Mr. Stephen Adu, Deputy-Director, Teacher Education Division (TED) of the Ghana Education Service (GES), said on Monday in Accra.

This is due to the mass exodus of trained teachers to other countries in the 1970s, which compelled Ghana Education Service to recruit additional teachers, both trained and untrained, to replace those who left. To date, it has not been easy to replace the vacancy left by the teachers.

Mr. Adu was speaking on the topic: "Teacher Education System in Ghana-An Appraisal," at a colloquium organised by the Ghana Association of Teachers (GNAT) in Accra as part of activities marking the annual world teachers' day and the fourth GNAT week celebration. Mr. Adu said the situation has worsened, especially in the deprived areas where most trained teachers have refused to teach, thereby depriving children of quality education.

He said the recruitment of untrained teachers therefore, continued to be attractive to meet the demand. This is also because they readily accepted postings to schools in the remote, deprived and disadvantaged areas.

Mr. Adu said the implementation of the Untrained Teacher Training Diploma in Basic Education (UTTDBE) programme was therefore, in response to the commitment of the government to reduce poverty under the Ghana Poverty Strategy and meet the millennium development goals and education for all.

He said the teacher education and practice needed to be dynamic enough to respond to challenges, needs and demands of the country. Mr. Adu called on the Ministry of Education and Sports (MEOS), the Ghana Education Service (GES) and universities training teachers to adopt policies and practices that reflected the aspirations of the society in addressing quality training in teacher training institutions. He said the UTTDBE programme being run through distance learning must be strengthened since it was a major step to address the quality teacher issue in, especially hard-to-reach communities. The Deputy Director said the teacher was the bedrock for all human learning and also the hub around which individual citizens were made to realise their full potential to serve their nations.

Therefore, there was the need to support teacher capacity building and institutions that produced teachers must be paramount on every government's development agenda, he added.

It is hoped that MOES/GES would facilitate the implementation of the government's white paper on teacher on teacher education and training to improve quality education.

Mr. Simon Wilberforce Tsadidey, Principal of Peki Training College, said to date, there was no definite policy on in-service training for teachers, adding that the good practice of compulsory prescribed promotion course, which served as in-service programmes for teachers had been abolished.

"Unfortunately we have come to establish a sad culture whereby in-service training is considered as being beneficial to the employer and teachers must be paid to attend."

In effect, he noted, some teachers could opt not to avail themselves of the few avenues provided for them to update their knowledge but still earn promotion in the name of long service only. He appealed to government to make regular, prescribed in-service programmes a feature of teacher developments at all times instead of reliance on one short courses that does not necessarily cover all teachers.

He said while graduates from polytechnics could become professional teachers on obtaining the Certificate in Education from University of Education, Winneba, there was no similar scheme for graduates of technical and vocational institutions to train as teachers, adding, "This situation does not augur well for us."

He also noted that there was the feeling that the Diploma in Basic Education was having negative effects on teaching and learning in schools and the mode of execution of the course needed re-examination. Mr. Tsadidey said to improve teacher education, in-service programmes should be made conditional for promotion by the employer and the onus of attendance should lie on the teachers.

He called for the creation of a specific teacher-training scheme that would admit graduates from the technical and vocational institutes so that the JSS could be staffed with qualified teachers in the technical/vocational subject areas.

He also appealed to the Ministry to ensure that teaching universities stayed focussed, irrespective of the need for them to diversify their training and educational programmes. "We must have courses specifically tailored to produce teachers for various levels of education in the country." 03 Sept. 05