Since 2018, the College of Education system has gone through a lot of structural and pedagogical transformations. Change, as inevitable as it is, is generally good when it is dished out holistically and constructively. Many things have, and are, changing in the College system. Aside from the distribution of the Colleges, in affiliation, across five major traditional Universities in the country, the introduction of the 4-year B.Ed. programme to replace the 3-year Diploma programme is equally a phenomenal transformation.
Consequential of this new 4-year B.Ed. programme is the strict insistence that all “tutors” in the Colleges, especially the new recruits/entrants, possess, in the minimum, First and MPhil degrees, and both must be in aligned disciplines. Currently, no College Principal would ideally recruit, or recommend for recruitment, anyone who holds an M.A or M.Ed. degree. In fact, tutors who are already in the system with such degrees are compelled, not only by their Principals, but also by the Government, to pursue further studies in MPhil programmes. My research reveals that, currently, all such tutors with such degrees are undertaking MPhil programmes at various universities. Actually, the acutely few ones with only first degrees have, and are, being sent back to GES.
These are all very strong polity arrangements, some of which are quite discomforting but extremely needful, to the transitional processes of the Colleges of Education into full-fledged degree awarding universities or university colleges. However, conspicuously missing in these arrangements, but a considerably important conversation to have, is the ranking system of the college tutors. Do you know that, presently, the College of Education, is the ONLY degree-awarding tertiary in the country whose ‘lecturers’ are called “Tutors”?
I know the immediate reason that readily comes to mind, among others, is that, “Colleges, though award degrees, are not Universities”. Granted that this proposition holds, let’s open the discourse wider. College of Education belongs to a category called non-university tertiary group. In this group of non-university degree-awarding institutions are the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ), National Film and Television Institute (NAFTI), Ghana Institute of Management and Administration (GIMPA), Ghana Institute of Languages (GIL), etc. These schools, just as the College of Education, are considered to be “professional tertiary institutions”. They all (qualify to) award Bachelor Degrees. Though Nursing Colleges are part of this group, they are exempted in this particular discussion because they don’t award degrees yet.
It is sad, however, that, in all the transformations happening at the Colleges, the ranking system of the College “tutors” are not ‘touched’, at least, if for nothing at all, to fit conveniently into the ‘class’ of their counterparts, i.e., the “professional tertiary institutions”. More sadly it is to note that, with the current ranking system, NO college “tutor” can ever, in his whole professional lifetime in the College, rise to become a “Professor”, regardless of the number of publications, long service, researches and community services he engages in just as his colleagues in the other “professional tertiary institutions” do. This conversation, from a very sincerest point of view, is not hinged on the money, salaries, allowances, or anything mercenary that may come with these “rankings”. It borders, in all intents, on reputation, esteem, fairness and equality with all institutions of such class. Why must a friend with an MPhil or PhD be moved on a chain that lands him on a professorial rank one day, and another, in a similar institution, be moved on a chain that ends him merely at a chief tutor rank? What’s the justification for this? Not everybody is moved by money or fiscal incentives. A couple more people are equally moved by prestige, confidence, esteem and self-worth, some of which come from deserved entitlements.
At this point in time in the College system, where many college Principals would admit, and are actually complaining, that their staff jump on university appointments at the slimmest opportunity, a conversation on the ranking system is imperatively unavoidable. I repeat, this conversation decouples “ranking system” from “remuneration system”. I see, and treat these two concepts separately, leaving the “remuneration system” into the hands of PRINCOF and CETAG to chart such path. This piece is inspired by a colleague college tutor who left the College for a university. He, on leaving, and sounding very happy and fulfilled, told me that, “Danny, me too, I’ll be called a “lecturer” some, and one day, hopefully, I’ll become a “professor”. That’s when it became obvious to me that not all movements are money inspired, some are esteem and self-worth inspired. That struck me. I hope it strucks you too!
Counsellor Daniel Fenyi,
Tutor, Enchi College of Education.