Accra, Dec 9, GNA - Mr Joseph Henry Mensah, the Senior Minister, on Friday presented 30 Tata Buses valued at 540 million cedis each to 30 out of the 38 Teacher Training Colleges (TTC) in the country. The remaining eight would later be given theirs.
The 58-seater buses, which are from India, were supplied by PHC motors in fulfilment of a promise made by the Minister of Education and Sports (MOEYS), Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo to the Conference of Principals of Teacher Training Colleges (PRINCOF) in May this year. Mr Mensah said meeting the teacher-demand remained a great challenge to the Ministry and the Ghana Education Service (GES) due to the insufficient numbers of trained teachers.
He said apart from the college-based pre-service Diploma in Basic Education, the government had mandated the GES through the teacher division to enrol all untrained teachers into a four-year school-based in-service teacher-training programme.
He said the 24,000 untrained teachers mostly in the isolated, rural and undeserved areas when trained would serve to focus energy and resources on raising the quality of education and hence the life chances of thousands of children.
He said the buses would assist the colleges in the management and effective implementation of the untrained teacher training programme and school attachment scheme.
He said apart from the improvement in salary levels of teachers, learning materials would be adequately provided, adding that infrastructure and accommodation were also being built throughout the country especially in disadvantaged areas to boost teacher morale. Mr Osafo-Maafo said apart from the buses, the colleges would have new libraries, classroom blocks and flats for at least six tutors and modern computerised laboratories. He said the 15 colleges that would be selected to carry out science and mathematics programmes would be equipped with modern science laboratories.
He said the Ministry was working on the institution of a standard assessment for students at the basic level and would need competent teachers in all schools to assist in getting all pupils to meet the standards.
He congratulated West African Examination Council for ensuring a leakage free examination in the last Basic Education Certificate Examinations and Senior Secondary School Certificate Examinations. He appealed to the heads of the colleges to keep to their promise to provide in-service training for untrained teachers, saying that at the moment the situation was an ad-hoc one "but we must find a way of training them".
He said there was the need to lift the colleges into tertiary institutions adding, however, that the conversion would take a long time. Mrs Agnes Ofosu-Koranteng, President of Principals of Conference of Teachr Training Colleges, said the buses would enhance the efficient supervision of students on the programme, boost the image of the colleges and advertise them more forcefully. She suggested that the buses be relabelled as belonging to colleges of education instead of teacher training colleges.