In recent years, many attempts have been made to reform teacher education in Ghana to enable it to meet the country’s desire to improve children’s learning outcomes in the basic school system.
One such initiative was the policy reform on teacher education in Ghana which, in August 2017, found out that the current three-year Diploma in Basic Education (DBE) curriculum on which the initial training of teachers in the colleges of education is anchored is not and has not responded adequately to this expectation and desire.
In actual fact, the policy identified several other challenges faced by the country’s school system because of the kind of training offered to pre-tertiary teachers in the training institutions.
In the light of this, it became imperative that the pre-service training programme be radically designed and taught the student-teachers who would, in turn, teach their learners, if the anticipated and required improvement on learning outcomes is to be achieved.
Towards this end, the government initiated reforms to review the curriculum and set teacher standards in the training institutions, all in an attempt to deliver quality education at all levels and equip learners with skills and competencies to deliver that type of education which would make learners functional citizens who could contribute to the attainment of national development goals and thus be relevant to themselves and the country at large.
Subsequent to this, a document titled: Transforming Teacher Education and Learning (T-Tel), was developed and approved by the Cabinet.
Following from this, the Ministry of Education upgraded the Colleges of Education as campuses of the existing public universities to make them degree-awarding institutions, effective 2018.
Contributions and inputs of relevant stakeholders were sought, and a four-year Bachelor of Education degree, with its attendant curriculum, was fashioned out, to train teachers for the basic school system.
The snag, however, is that holders of the DBE certificate from the colleges of education now in the field teaching were not considered in the scheme of things.
This has created a gap in aligning the pre-service teacher education curriculum with the pre-tertiary education curriculum reforms, meant to improve the quality of teaching, as well as learning outcomes.
Concerned citizens and the pre-tertiary education unions find this state of affairs unfortunate, as the DBE practitioners would be teaching the same content of the new educational system with their degree-holding counterparts.
Again, they will now become subordinates to colleagues who were their juniors at the College and who will even enjoy higher salaries than they.
This writer foresees problems in our schools with this development very soon.
There could be despondency in the schools, and learners will bear the brunt.
This is why I am calling for a one-year top-up for the DBE holders to enable them to earn the Bachelor of Education degree.
This will ensure they are not disadvantaged, and save them from the anxieties, worries and loss of self-esteem they may go through.
This done, this writer believes the success and quality we all yearn for will be achieved, and Ghana would be the winner.
The one-year top-up is a task that must be done, and done expeditiously.
Thomas T. Musah
General Secretary of GNAT