MINORITY’S POSITION ON THE MASS FAILURE OF CANDIDATES IN THE RECENTLY CONDUCTED TEACHER LICENSURE EXAMINATIONS
The attention of the Minority (NDC) in Parliament has been drawn to a mass failure of candidates who sat for the recently conducted Teacher Licensure Examination.
The National Teaching Council (NTC) an agency under the Ministry of Education in 2018 introduced the Teacher Licensure Examination aimed at licensing teachers who teach or want to teach in public pre-tertiary schools in the country. This according to the Ministry of Education is a fulfilment of Section 12(4)of the Education Act, 2008 (Act 778)which states that:
“The programme of study for pre-tertiary teachers that lead to a license to teach shall be developed in consultation with the Council”.
It, therefore, means that the Act did not intend a separate examination to be conducted on the teacher after he or she has undergone a programme of study at the College of Education or a University accredited to offer teacher-training programmes.
The Minority in the past three years have observed with concern the unfair treatment being meted to these young trained teachers who have devoted themselves to serve the nation.
The introduction of the Licensure Examination has negatively affected the teacher-trainee. Until 2017, a teacher who completed a teacher education in a College of Education was immediately posted to begin his or her career as a professional teacher. On assuming duty, the first day counts towards the professional progression of the teacher.
It is also on record that since 2017, newly trained teachers have been made to undertake a mandatory one-year national service.
Hitherto, the first year of appointment served as a probation period, which also counted to the progression of the teacher. What happens now is that the newly trained teacher after the completion of his or her programme of study has to undergo a one-year national service, which does not count towards his or her first promotion. Most unfair is that after the completion of the national service, employment is not automatic. These teachers trained with public funds have to remain at home for another year before they are employed, while classrooms remain without teachers across the country. In effect, the teachers lose two years, which will not count towards their promotion.
What is frustrating is that after the teacher trainees have gone through a three-year programme, now four years and having to obtain a number of credits to qualify as teachers, a six hour aptitude test or examination is conducted to determine their professional competence. The question one asks is that can a six-hour examination correct or rectify any inadequacies or inefficiencies in the teacher that a three-year programme of study could not correct?
It is, therefore, clear that the Licensure Examination in the form in which it is now is retrogressive and cannot bring out the best in the newly trained teacher.
It is a demotivating and demoralizing attempt to frustrate the teacher before he assumes duty.
THE WAY FORWARD
The Minority as already stated is not happy with the maltreatment being given to these young men and women and wish to empathize with them. We feel their pains and wish to assure them that we are with them in spirit and that the end to all this unfair treatment will soon come.
The position of the Minority is that the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service should as a matter of urgency suspend the conduct of any further Teacher Licensure Examination and rather review the curriculum for teacher education and make the licensure an integral part of the course programme as credit hours to be earned by students towards their certification.
Additionally, automatic recruitment of teachers on completion of course of study should be reinstated.
As Minority, we wish to assure all teacher trainees that we are with them in their struggle and wish to re-assure them that an NDC government on coming into the office on 7th January 2025, will consider the one-year off campus teaching as a national service period as well as making the Licensure Examination part of the credit hours they have to obtain as they go through the course of study to graduate as teachers. These, we believe as a Minority can motivate the teachers to give their best.
We have noted that this government does not have the welfare of teachers at heart. Otherwise, the President of the Republic would not have stated recently that the teaching profession was not one for people who wanted to be millionaires.
What also broke the camel’s back was when the National Union of Ghana Students met the President to register their displeasure at the mass failure of the candidates when he failed to empathize with them but to agree with the Minister for Education that his assessment was the fairest. He failed to encourage them and made no commitment to seeing to a better licensure regime.
We as the Minority wish to encourage them to lift high their spirits and hope for the best in the future.
Ranking Member on Education