|Teacher Training in Ghana - Does it Count? (CIE, 2001, 119 p.)|
|Chapter 9: The Way Forward|
To conclude, we propose the following short to medium-term steps to move teacher training in Ghana forward.
1. The "In-in-out" scheme has been accepted and in principle is a good step, but it has to be based on a conception of teaching that is reflective as opposed to prescriptive. In particular, the "out" phase of training must seek to empower prospective teachers with skills, knowledge, and attitudes that would make them change agents in classroom practice. This would require a school-based training curriculum that is focused on developing practical knowledge of teaching, and is oriented towards problem-solving.
2. A modular course lasting about one year should be set up in some college centres for untrained teachers. It should be designed so that eventually it can become an alternative route to a teaching qualification, and of the same quality as the "In-in-out" model. The real advantage of the modular programme is that it will help to improve the teacher supply situation, and offer the opportunity for untrained teachers to receive training that draws on their background experiences of teaching.
3. Colleges as currently structured are rather unsuitable environments for the development of wider attitudes considered important for teachers to develop in real teaching situations. In other words, colleges as currently structured do not reflect or provide the opportunity for developing an adequate sense of teacher professionalism - student teachers are treated more like secondary school students than as adult learners. As was recommended earlier in this chapter, college organisational structures must encourage trainees to take on greater responsibility for professional learning through more individual and group study of projects based in schools. Too much time appears to be wasted on irrelevant tasks e.g. weeding and fetching water, that have nothing to do with the objectives of training.
4. Changing the way teachers are trained as recommended in this report will mean special training for college tutors. Currently, tutors have no training specific to their role as educators of primary and JSS teachers. If their interaction with student teachers is to be productive in the sense of enabling them to develop a more reflective stance in teaching, they themselves need to receive training that is sensitive to this perspective of teaching. The Institute of Education University of Cape Coast must be encouraged to develop courses that are practical-based for certifying college tutors. Structured as an in-service programme, this should eventually become the route to confer the additional qualification status for teaching in a training college.
5. College budgets need restructuring to increase allocation to training inputs, especially teaching and learning resources, library facilities etc. Student stipends may be the route to achieving this. Stipends would have to be made more accountable in terms of the proportion colleges take, and how students use the remainder in furthering their professional development.
6. "Study-leave-with full pay" needs reviewing and made more accountable in terms of the benefits to primary education. It appears prudent to attach some conditions to the incentive. Possibilities include "bonding" to teach in a primary school for at least 2 years after further training, introducing study leave with part of the payment borne by the teacher, or particular districts sponsoring teachers for further training.
7. Finally, the pre-service and in-service training of teachers has to be re-constructed as equally important routes to teacher training. A certification policy needs to take this into account. For example, teachers could be required to renew certification after about 5 years in teaching and this would then attract reasonable increases in pay. The certification assessment needs to reflect the practical experiences gained in teaching. This would have the additional advantage of encouraging beginning teachers to commit themselves to remaining longer in teaching (at least for 5 years) before qualifying for further training. It is important for further certification status to attract some additional remuneration or points that could be used for promotion.
In conclusion, bold initiatives in initial teacher training in Ghana are needed to produce a sufficient number of teachers with the commitment and competence to improve the quality of education children receive in schools. The recommendations and suggestions that have been made in this report offer a number of possibilities based upon the outcome of studies exploring a broad spectrum of issues relating to the training to become a teacher. Teacher training in Ghana has not come under the microscope of education reformers as intensely as, for example, basic education. But one cannot separate the two; in fact, it is fair to say that the quality of basic education in terms of the quality of student learning outcomes is greatly influenced by the level of commitment and competence of teachers. Teachers are at the forefront of basic education quality delivery. Therefore, their training, and other policies which enhance their well-being and standing in society, needs to be given more serious consideration in education development in Ghana. Hopefully, this report has raised a number of issues for policy planners to evaluate and determine appropriate actions. The report has also offered suggestions about the kind of changes that might be needed to make the teaching profession more effective in contributing to the quality of basic education in Ghana.