The confirmation of cases of COVID – 19 shows no signs of decreasing now. Due to this, many educational institutions have no option than to resort to virtual learning to replace the normal face to face lectures, and Colleges of Education are no exception.
Following the circular from the Institute of Education, UCC indicating that the beginning of the Second Semester of the 2019/2020 academic year online, the information has brought mixed – feelings among many trainee teachers as many are divided as to whether or not starting the semester online will yield positive results.
The concerns of collegians we believe must be acted upon before this initiative kick start.
Kick-starting the Second Semester for Colleges of Education online is a grave decision looking back at what happened last academic year when CETAG went on strike for a while and the semester was delayed. We should be asking ourselves the success rate of face – to – face lectures. How high is it that we want to employ online learning where students will have to learn from the comfort of their homes without any motivation from their colleagues to challenge them to learn?
Have we considered those offering practical courses? How are they going to carry out their practical lessons? Or for the sake of online learning those courses are irrelevant? What about the Special Needs students? Any provisions made for them?
And those in Level 300, are they going to continue the Teaching Practice online? Or they will just wait for things to get to normalcy before they are asked to write their examinations?
Are we after grades or professional development?
And what happens to our Supported Teaching in Schools course? A whole chunk of concerns needs to be addressed before taking a concise and precise decision about starting of the Second Semester online else the end result will be nothing good to write home about.
We further seek that results of the first semester be released before commencing the Second Semester online but if the results can wait until the pandemic is over then our concerns must be addressed before we roll out the initiative.
Following a survey conducted using google forms, taking concerns from trainee teachers, as to whether the Second Semester should start online or not, about 70% of trainees representing a figure of 2,658 students responded NO to the question. We also believe that some trainees were not able to partake in this survey because of their inability to get access to the internet and in some cases, poor network was a hindrance.
Engaging students could be best but starting the semester online now will be deadly to trainees more than the novel coronavirus.
We further acknowledge the good work by the TEACHER TRAINEES ASSOCIATION OF GHANA (TTAG) for their efforts so far and urge them to seek for the welfare of trainees always so as to achieve the best.
The truth is, online teaching and learning must come to a halt until the issues elaborated above are addressed so as to facilitate a beneficial and successful exchange of knowledge.
We cannot afford to start the semester online and in subsequent months be begging officers to increase the number of credit hours that would amount to withdrawal of students.
We must study under sound mind and we cannot do that at this particular time. Let us halt the resumption of the semester. What benefit is education when we are unhealthy and dead?
#Address_the_issues_to_the _benefit _of_all.
ISAAC COBBINAH (DE_GOVERNOR)
PEKI COLLEGE OF EDUCATION, PEKI
EKISSI STANLEY EDEM
ST. FRANCIS COLLEGE OF EDUCATION, HOHOE.