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19 August 2017

Teacher Licensing : NAGRAT Raises Red Flag Over Policy

The National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) has called for more stakeholder consultation on the implementation of the policy to license teachers in the country.

It said once the right consultations were made “we will do our best to ensure that the implementation of the policy succeeds.”

“Anything short of the above will be met with bull-force resistance. We wish to caution that a rushed programme is certain to be a crushed one,” the Vice-President of NAGRAT, Mr Eric Angel Carbonu, said at a press conference in Accra yesterday.

He indicated that NAGRAT was neither resisting licensing and registration of teachers nor questioning the mandate of the National Teaching Council (NTC) to do so, and that it only had issues with the procedure for its implementation and the subsequent repercussions thereof.

Education Act

According to him, provided in the Education Act 2008 (Act 778) was the establishment of a National Teaching Council with the function of licensing and registering of teachers, among others.

“It is, therefore, established that the licensing of teachers has legal backing. Bearing this in mind, the question of whether NAGRAT accepts the Policy of Teacher Licensing and Registration becomes irrelevant since the association is law-abiding,” Mr Carbonu said.

The law, he said, prescribed that teachers should be registered and licensed but did not prescribe how.

“Permit me to ask a few seemingly naïve questions. Are teachers going to be registered and licensed through an inspection of their certificates and/or work? Will they be registered by oral examinations (interviews)? Will the licensing and registration be preceded by written examinations? What will be the syllabus for such assessment?,” he queried.

Grey areas

The NAGRAT Vice-President said since the law could not spell out those grey areas together with many other issues worthy of consideration, the questions raised were indicative that there was the need for broad consultations with all stakeholders before any attempt at implementing the policy was embarked upon.

He said regrettably, NAGRAT could not say it had enjoyed sufficient consultation on the implementation process to feel part of it, let alone assure itself that the procedure for implementation would not short-change it.

“It is true that there have been some sort of consultations, but at such consultative encounters, we have raised concerns that have not been addressed, yet some hyper-active players are all over the media landscapes pontificating the implementation process with timelines,” he stated.

Mr Carbonu noted that the main requirements for the issuance and renewal of licences were capacity-building workshops, in-service training and continuous professional development, adding that “NAGRAT is gravely concerned as to how many of these workshops and training activities a teacher will require to have his/her licence renewed.”

Again, he said, there was no question of how much the training workshops would cost and who would bear the cost.

“If the cost associated with the operation of a policy is left unaddressed, how can one expect those who may have to pay for it to embrace the policy? The National Teaching Council will do itself a lot of good if it comes out clear on the cost involved and those responsible for its payment,” he said.

Relationship

Another concern of teachers, he said, was the relationship between licensing and registration and job security for teachers, since the continuous stay of teachers in the classroom depended on their ability to renew their licences every now and then.

“The renewal of the licence also depends on passing various tests, including the ability to stay clear from disciplinary issues. An allegation levelled against a teacher is sufficient to deny him/her renewal of licence. Once the licence is not renewed, appointment is terminated. We know some of the happenings in the Ghana Education Service as far as disciplinary issues are concerned. We will not willingly put our necks under the guillotine,” he said.

Teaching Council

Meanwhile, the NTC has stated that no decision has been taken on when the policy will be executed and the modalities it will take.

The council said a decision would be taken and communicated to teacher unions after thorough consultations had been made.

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