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close this bookThe Importance of Posting in Becoming a Teacher in Ghana (CIE, 2000, 46 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentMulti-Site Teacher Education Research Project (MUSTER)
View the documentList of Acronyms
View the documentAbstract
View the documentChapter 1: Introduction and context
View the documentChapter 2: Research methods
View the documentChapter 3: A theoretical framework: Bureaucratic initiation, professional socialisation and teacher thinking
Open this folder and view contentsChapter 4: The posting system: rational system or ''Unsavoury ritual''?
Open this folder and view contentsChapter 5: Why do teachers report?
View the documentChapter 6: Posting: A year on
View the documentChapter 7: Conclusion: A review of the problems and some possible solutions
View the documentReferences

Chapter 2: Research methods

This research was carried out as part of the MUSTER (multi-site teacher education research) project3. At all points in the research process (planning, piloting, analysis and reporting), this research was done in close collaboration with the team of researchers at The Institute of Education at Cape Coast University in Cape Coast, Ghana and is part of a wider ongoing study of teacher training in Ghana. Three aspects of the research method need further explanation: the choice of region, the choice of the sample and the structure of the research.

3 This is a DFID funded collaborative research project between the Centre for International Education at the University of Sussex; The Institute of Education in Lesotho; the Institute of Education, Cape Coast University, Ghana; The School of Education at the Trinidad and Tobago campus of the University of West Indies; the Faculty of Education at the University of Durban Westville, South Africa; and the Centre for Education Research and Training in Malawi.

Central Region was chosen for two main reasons. Firstly, it is the region that is most accessible from Cape Coast, but secondly, because it is a typical region in a number of important ways. Its balance between rural and urban areas, approximately 60/40, makes it a predominantly rural area and broadly similar to the national ratio of 70/30. As it is in the coastal area of Ghana and contains some of the best schools in the country, it is perceived, by some, to be relatively privileged. However, when newly trained teachers choose the region they would prefer to be posted to, it is only the fifth most popular region, highlighting the deprivation and remoteness of some of its rural areas. Like all regions with large rural areas, it has problems filling the vacancies in its basic (primary and junior secondary) schools, and rural district directors have an average of three vacancies for every teacher posted. It also faces the problem of a significant number of newly posted teachers not accepting their posting. Accurate figures can be difficult to come by, but I was given estimates by District Directors in rural districts throughout the region ranging from 10% - 40% of teachers not accepting their posting in 1998 for one reason or another. One reason for this is that Central Region contains some of the most economically deprived districts in the country, such as Ajumako, Assin Foso and Twifu Praso and the following statistics (table 1) give some insight into the situation regarding staffing in these districts. The figures for the urban area of Cape Coast and national figures are given for comparative purposes.

Table 1: GES Manpower Survey 1996/97

District

Primary teachers "at post"

Vacancies

Percentage of vacancies for teachers

Ajumako

386

99

26%

Assin Foso

631

216

34%

Twifu Praso

572

232

41%

Cape Coast

372

0

0%

National figure

60564

10881

18%

In choosing the teachers to be involved in the study, I wanted a sample that was balanced in relation to the general picture of newly trained teachers in Central Region in terms of gender and urban/rural postings, and with roughly equal numbers from each of the two colleges (one in Central region, one in a neighbouring region). Some of the teachers initially chosen for the sample (approximately 20%) had not reported to their post and, in effect, my sample became skewed to those who did report. Therefore, although I was unable to trace teachers who had not reported in the time available, I have included a discussion of the perceived reasons for these teachers not reporting in the context of reasons teachers give for reporting, as they do in the majority of cases. Furthermore, three teachers, who had graduated in 1997 and transferred from rural to urban schools after only one year, were included in order to gain insights into the issue of early transfers from initial postings, which should in most cases be after three years. Newly trained teachers may be posted to either primary or junior secondary schools (JSS), which are also considered to be basic schools, even though they have subject specialist teaching rather than the integrated teaching of primary schools. This is a significant issue in relation to the training they receive and their satisfaction with the posting so it was essential to include teachers in both types of basic school.

Table 2: Characteristics of the sample of twenty-three newly trained teachers


College A

College B

Number of participants

11 teachers

12 teachers

Gender

9 male, 2 female

6 male, 6 female

School level

7 primary, 4 JSS

8 primary, 4 JSS

Social context

9 rural, 2 urban

7 urban, 5 rural

1997 graduates /transfers

1 1997 graduate who had transferred from a rural to an urban school

2 1997 graduates who had transferred from a rural to an urban school

Although my research was focused on newly trained teachers in school, I also interviewed: head teachers in each of the schools, circuit supervisors, GES (Ghana Education Service) district directors and other district officers, GES regional officers and GES/MOE national officers. I interviewed the principals at both the colleges whose graduates I had chosen for the study. The first interviews were conducted with each of the teachers and their heads in separate interviews in their schools during the second term of the academic year. Follow up interviews and lesson observations were arranged with some of the teachers and all were then invited to Cape Coast University for a day of discussion and workshops. The interview data contained in this paper is primarily from the first phase of interviews.