On licensure of teachers in Ghana

By Don Mcknight Cato

It's a welcome news that GES and the MOE want to LICENCE all professional teachers in Ghana.

It's a commendable policy and should be supported. After all, teachers will become CHARTERED TEACHERS after acquiring their licenses, no? 

Per the directive from the ministry, teachers will have to sit the examinations in order to renew their license after acquisition of their documents within a 3 to 5 years acquisition. 

But this policy is in a bad taste and an affront to the profession, especially when one has gone through the main structures of certification. 

As of now, Ghana has more than 30% of the teachers in the public sector being non-professionals. Many have first degrees in the Sciences and Humanities but do not have a professional education certificates or diplomas to make them full professionals. What are the policy makers planning to do with this category of teachers? Or am I to believe that they will as well be made to write the licensure exams to become professionals without pursuing any professional certificate? 

There are clear foibles in the educational sector and I think those should be identified and resolved to prevent landing all of us in a gloomy labyrinth!

The policy makers should extend their consultations. They should speak to UCC, UEW and UG where educationalists are trained.

They should speak to practicing educational administrators and they should speak to teachers to gather enough materials to help them decipher unsustainable policies from those which are only written in books and are bound to remain irrelevant and gather dust at the long run!

Medical Doctors, Lawyers and Chartered Economists do write examinations to acquire their licenses. Thereafter, they undergo continuous professional development (CPD) and then pay annual membership dues to remain in good standing! This is verifiable. They are not required to write renewal exams after 3-5 years to obtain new licenses. Never.

Medical doctors who are trained outside the shores of Ghana are required to write a licensure exam as well to enable them  practice in Ghana. But do our Cuban Doctors write that exam? The minister and his advisors need to find out

CPD is a key professional requirement in all accredited BRITISH (Cambridge) curriculum schools. The British Council, which is the supervising body does very well at this. Every single year, they fly in educational experts from the UK and other parts of the world to come and carry out professional development training programmes for CIE exams officers, tutors and school administrators. They share new innovations in teaching and learning and this is to ensure that the Ghanaian British School teacher remains knowledgeable, skilful and abreast with current trends in the UK and elsewhere.

Ensuring Standards IS KEY! No wonder Cambridge schools train their students to become international, innovative, confident, respectful, and assertive and lifelong learners! The direct opposite happens in our public schools.

It is only few Districts which once in a blue moon, organize some half-baked in-service training for a few staff. And to think that those training sessions by GES are carried out by Circuit Supervisors who themselves require training leaves one to wonder if our educational managers are serious at all.

GES should focus its attention on some well-structured CPDs for all its staff, with special attention directed at teachers in the classroom. They should encourage the non-professional graduates to acquire some PGDip or PGCE to enable them  become proper professionals.....that will benefit the students they teach, the teachers and the educational sector! GES and the Ministry of education should not pretend they are not aware that the teacher's pay is paltry and unsustainable. They should talk the government into paying realistic salaries to the LICENCED Professionals and create other incentives which will attract quality and very qualified professionals to the teaching profession.

An anecdote of CPD could be used in staff or teacher promotions instead of the mundane proposal of sitting an exam to renew licences. Please, that's an insult to the already frustrated young man or woman teaching at Bunkpurugu and Akaayaw!

Teachers and their professional bodies like GNAT and NAGRAT should not remain silent. We are CITIZENS and we must make Ghana move in an enlightened direction. Our actions should be seen to be mending fences, building bridges but not to break bridges and build sacrilegious walls!

As always, For God and Country!

Simon Peter PMK Attah-Cato, the writer,  is an educational consultant, educational administrator, a certified (CIE) teacher's mentor and trainer and a realistic optimist.

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.