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22 August 2017

Video: Writing exams for teaching licenses is superfluous – IFEST

An Education Consultant with the Institute of Education Studies has described as “superfluous”, a new policy that will require teachers to write exams for their licenses.

Dr Prince Armah, who is himself a licensed teacher with the General Teaching Council for Scotland, noted one-shot exams will not be the best way possible to provide licenses for teachers.

He is recommending structural changes at the National Teaching Council in Ghana which shall make the council not only autonomous of government but will be able to set standards on who a teacher is and what the prospective teacher must do to obtain his or her license.

He was contributing to the new saga of teacher licensing when he appeared on the AM Show on Joy News TV, Thursday.

The call for teacher licensing has set the education sector boiling for the past few days.

The licentiate exam policy will require teachers to sit for separate professional qualification after graduating from universities and colleges of education.

If they pass the exams they are given licenses to be recognized as professional teachers and the licenses will be renewed from time to time.

A number of teacher unions are up in arms against the decision. NAGRAT on Thursday held a press conference insisting they were not consulted before the policy was consummated.

While in principle they are not against the licensing of teachers, they would rather a better consultative approach is used and the processes of licensing teachers clearly defined.

Contributing to the issue, Dr Prince Armah, who also has a license to teach in England said, the whole licensing controversy in the sector will be better solved from the basis.

Teaching Council

Despite claims that the National Teaching Council are the owners of the policy, Dr Prince Armah is certain the policy did not emanate from the Council.

He argued a Council whose umbilical cord is tied to the Ministry of Education cannot be trusted to initiate policies independent of the government in power.

Just as the General Legal Council and the Dental Council are autonomous of the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Health respectively, Dr Armah believes the best way to go is to have the National Teaching Council distinct from the Education Ministry.

That, he said is the first structural change that needs to happen before any policy purported to be coming from the Council will be taken seriously.

He explained the institution of teaching councils has a history which is traced to the General Teaching Council of Scotland.

Dr Armah added that other councils across the world were modeled around the Teaching Council of Scotland and Ghana must do same in order to ensure a more independent Council.

For a Council whose membership is reconstituted with every change in government, cannot be potent enough to implement education policies that will be in the interest of teachers.

  Instead of writing exams for teachers to be licensed, Dr Armah would rather have the independent National Council set standards which will be the template for all universities and teacher training colleges to follow in training teachers.

He said the current chaotic situation where each university, or teacher training college defines its own parameters and uses it to train teachers must come to an end.

“The Council must serve standards…They define who a teacher is. They will say a teacher is someone who must have acquired knowledge in a subject matter content; specific knowledge in pedagogical approaches,” he explained.

Once they define those standards they hand it over to the universities and teacher colleges to inform them on the training regimes.

He said once the teachers are done with the training, they will be issued with provisional licenses for a year during which they will be appraised on set targets. If they meet the targets then they will receive the full licenses, he explained.

Kicking against the use of licensing exams, Dr Armah said: “examination alone cannot tell if one is a good teacher or not.”

A Ranking Member with the Education Committee of Parliament Peter Nortsu also agrees in part with the views by Dr Armah.

He doesn’t believe in the use of exams as the vehicle to license teachers. He also denied assertions that the teachers were not engaged before the policy was introduced.

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