By Francis Ameyibor, GNA
Koforidua, July 11, GNA – Mr Robbin Todd, Team Leader of Transforming Teacher Education and Learning (T-TEL) on Wednesday adjudged Ghana as not having a bad education system.
What is happening is “we are failing in the most important aspect of education- learning outcomes.
“Too many children in this country are leaving primary school without the ability to read and write to the required standards. Too many children are failing to gain the educational foundation which will enable them to achieve their potential in life,” he said.
Mr Todd stated at the opening of a two-day “Challenge Fund-End of Project Event,” for nine Colleges of Education (CoE) which over the past 12-15 months had implemented, the Challenge Fund project to share key lessons, showcase achievements and exploring opportunities for taking best practices and results forward in their institutions and within the teacher education sector as a whole.
The T-TEL Ghana Team Leader explained that “Ghana’s educational system focuses on ‘chewing’ and ‘pouring’- learning facts for examinations- an approach which does not adequately equip our young people for the world of work or enable them to achieve their full potential.
“We also have an education system which is too focused on examinations and which does not do enough to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills”.
“We should aspire for more. We should aspire to do better. Change is possible. This is the message behind the Government’s current education reforms. We are aspiring towards a genuinely world-class education system.
“A system which equips young people to become life-long learners in a knowledge economy. A system which enables Ghana to move beyond aid to trade so that we stand proudly on the world stage as the self-reliant, confident country which I know we are,” Mr Todd stated .
He said the T-TEL project aspires for a country where the public education system was so good that no Ghanaian felt the need to send his son or daughter to a private school.
“This is the vision. What are we doing to make it a reality? Education starts with the teacher, so reforming teacher education is an absolute priority- building upon the strengths which already exist across Ghana’s 46 public Colleges of Education,” he said.
Mr Todd said the government wanted to raise the profile of the teaching profession, stressing that the world’s best performing education systems were united by a common thread- the respect and standing of the teacher in society- a respect which meant that young people aspired to join the teaching profession.
In the time past, the teacher had almost the same level of status and respect as the chief, in Ghana. “How do we build this back?
“We are starting by raising the entry requirements for basic school teachers so that they are equivalent to those of other professions.
“To be a Lawyer, Architect, Engineer, Pharmacist or Doctor you must first gain a Bachelors’ Degree and then secure your license to practice,” he said.
Mr Todd explained that from October this year all new entrants to the teaching profession will be required to study Bachelors of Education degrees offered by Colleges of Education, initially in affiliation with the University of Cape Coast and after one year of implementation with other public Universities.
He said the curriculum offered in these Colleges of Education will represent a significant departure from previous practice.
He said aligning the new curriculum with these standards will ensure that we train the teachers which Ghana needed to deliver a world class education system.
“As the Team Leader of T-TEL, a Government of Ghana programme, we have been working with the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE) to support all 46 Colleges of Education to transform teacher education and learning.
“We have been working with Colleges for the past three years to prepare them for the Teacher Education Reforms. And I would also like to recognise and pay tribute to the important role that the University of Cape Coast have been playing in building capacity and capability in Colleges of Education.
“I firmly believe that, with this support, all Colleges are ready to deliver the new Bachelors of Education degree. I am excited about the opportunities for colleges and universities, working in partnership of mutual cooperation, respect and understanding, to truly transform teacher education and learning,” he said.
He said “If Ghana achieves these reforms it will stand as a beacon of hope to all of Africa that genuine change in teacher education is possible.
“And this change has already begun as through the Challenge Fund projects the Colleges have brought about significant and positive changes in the lives of young people across the country.
“We will work with Universities to provide continuous professional development support to enable all lecturers and tutors to understand all aspects of the new curriculum and deliver it effectively”.
Mr Todd stressed, “We will seek to strengthen partnerships between partner schools and colleges, guided by a new school partnerships policy- to ensure that experienced teachers are effectively mentoring student teacher.
“We will provide support to all colleges to enable them to upgrade the qualifications of their tutors, within a four year transitional period, to meet the minimum requirements of the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE).
“We will continue to support colleges to achieve their organisational objectives and development plans through a Payment By Results (PBR) approach, providing funding for colleges to use as they see fit to improve their infrastructure and learning environment.
“And we will continue to emphasise the importance of gender and inclusion- ensuring that opportunities for advancement are available for all in an inclusive and supportive learning environment,” Mr Todd said.
The participating colleges are Peki College of Education, Presbyterian College of Education – Akropong Akuapem, Jasikan College of Education, Presbyterian Women’s College of Education – Aburi Akwapim, SDA College of Education, St. Theresa’s College of Education, Agogo College of Education, Dambai College of Education, and Akatsi College of Education.