Licensing of teachers and my opinion

Teachers Living An Exemplary Life In Ghana Teachers will now have to pass a special examination before being granted the licence to teach.

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 Source: Douglas Peters

Earlier this week, we woke up to hear from the Ghana Education Service and her agencies of how plans are far advanced to license teachers.

Many plans according to GES is to be rolled out to ensure the effective implementation of the issuance of the license which includes but not limited to re-registration of all teachers and the controversial license examination that will churn out incompetent teachers from the system.

I was amazed when Ghanaweb new agency published a news item with the caption; ‘BAD TEACHERS’ REASON FOR THE INTRODUCTION OF LICENSE EXAMS-GES, on 16th August 2017.

I was in a dilemma. Who is constitutionally mandated to employ teachers into the service? Don’t they make sure a teacher has the requisite qualifications before employing them? And do they think making teachers write license exams would solve the problem? I don’t think teacher will be afraid to write exams.

My fear is the impending impunity and corruption that will characterize this exercise. Is this exercise relevant at all? Is it not the same institution (GES) who supervised the employment of the so called ‘Bad Teachers’, going to be the implementers of this exercise? These are a few questions I need answers to.

The problem facing our educational system is a collective problem in which all stakeholders of education are to be blamed. When it comes to poor academic performance by our pupils and students, teachers are sent to the altar for crucifixion by the same people whose actions and inactions has caused a great disservice in our educational system. Government, Teachers, Parents and the Community are all stakeholders who have a sacred responsibility to make sure we bring out good, productive, responsible and patriotic students who will sacrifice their all for the development of this beloved country of ours.

If the training and formation teachers receive in their various institutions of study are not good enough, then license exams is also not good enough. This won’t solve our problems as a nation. What will solve our woes, is a redesign of our curriculum from theory based knowledge to productive and practical based knowledge. Periodic in-service training for teachers to adopt and be abreast with new teaching methods, and monitoring and supervision are very fundamental to raising the standards of quality education in the country. Stakeholder consultations and appraisal of same is very fundamental to improving our educational system. Motivation and a well-planned conditions of service for teachers must be a priority to enhancing quality education.

Teaching and learning materials must be provided for teachers and students. It is a pity to know that there are inadequate TLMs in our public schools.

Many teachers sacrifice their little amount of salaries to buy text books and other relevant materials for teaching. How can students pass if these materials are not readily available? So the focus must not be on one stakeholder (the teacher), for the woes in our educational sector.

Parents also have a role to play in ensuring quality education for their wards. How many parents occasionally or on a regular basis, have gone to the school of their wards to know how they are performing? How many parents make sure that they spend time with their kids to revise what their wards learnt in school or supervise them to do same? How many parents buy reading and writing materials for their wards to study when they are at home? A food for thought!

The community also have a responsibility to know what is pertaining in their schools. There should be regular visits to the school to encourage and motivate both teachers and students to put up their best. Where government fails in its responsibility to provide materials for effective teaching and learning, chiefs and opinion leaders must marshal resources to help the school deliver on its mandate. After all, governance is also a shared responsibility.

Inasmuch as it is good to license teachers, it is not a priority. Licensing is not the issue, ensuring quality education is. Let’s not do unnecessary comparisons as to what pertains in other professions or country, but rather shape our educational sector to meet the aims and aspirations of mother Ghana.

Columnist: Douglas Peters