The blended learning approach in the 46 public Colleges of Education may have to be phased out in the 2021/2022 academic year according to the Minister for Education.
The information available to the News Desk of the Colleges of Education Weekly Journal reveals that the Honourable Minister for Education, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum, has directed Principals and other relevant stakeholders to immediately find solutions to make sure that trainee teachers have face-to-face lectures in the next academic year and do away with the online teaching and learning.
The Minister made this assertion when he hosted all Principals from the 46 public Colleges of Education at AH Hotel located at East Legon, Accra on Wednesday, September 15, 2021. Present at the meeting also were officials from the Ghana Tertiary Education Commission (GTEC).
Background to Blended Learning Approach
The blended learning was approved as an approach at a round table without any policy documentation to deal with the challenges of Colleges of Education amid the ramification of the COVID-19 pandemic and infrastructure deficits.
The blended learning was rollout without any direction but left for the affiliate universities to help the Colleges to implement it.
However, the approach has not been helpful since these affiliate institutions are also battling with their online issues. The colleges were left on their own without the needed support systems to execute this blended approach.
In an attempt to salvage the situation, Transforming Teaching Education and Learning (T-TEL) played a significant role in assisting the Colleges of Education to overcome the several challenges associated with the blended learning approach by providing smartphones for students and ICT infrastructure for some Colleges.
The blended learning approach has had dire consequences on the preparation of the preservice teacher so far as Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK) is a concern. Currently, there is no national policy to guide the model of blended learning in Colleges of Education in line with teacher preparation.
The Minister has, therefore, set up a Committee to fashion out a roadmap towards the reopening of Colleges and also look into changing the academic calendar for the 46 public Colleges of Education in order to make room for more face-to-face interactions between trainee teachers and their tutors and do away with the blended learning.
The Minister affirmed the government’s commitment to improving the infrastructure deficit in the Colleges. As such, he indicated that the government plans to construct hostels in all colleges. Colleges are to get the site ready for inspection. The minister also promised to consider an appeal made for vehicles for the colleges. The last time the Colleges received vehicles from the government was in 2016 when all the Colleges took delivery of Pick-Up trucks. It’s been five years and counting.
In another development, the Minister hinted, during the meeting with the Principals, the government’s plan to convert some selected Colleges of Education to fully-fledged education Universities. Aside this, the government is also considering two (2) other proposals on the future of the Colleges of Education. They include making the Colleges of Education satellite campuses of the five (5) main affiliate universities or grouping the Colleges based on proximity and zones as community universities.
The News Desk will monitor keenly the government decision on the future of the Colleges of Education and keep readers updated.
Story by: Larry K. Agbador