2.0 TEACHER EDUCATION
Ghana is deliberately trying to produce high-quality teachers in its basic classrooms. As Benneh (2006) points out, Ghana’s mission for teacher education is to provide a comprehensive teacher education program by providing initial teacher training and on-the-job training programs, which will produce skilled teachers, who will help improve effective teaching and learning in schools. Ghana’s primary school teacher education program was offered only at the Colleges of Education (CoE), and until recently, the University of Education, the University of Cape Town, Central University College and other institutions of higher learning are involved. The biggest difference between the programs offered by other tertiary institutions is that while Universities teach, assess and award certificates to their students, the Colleges of Education teach while the University of Cape Coast, through the Institute of Education, assesses and awards certificates. The training programs offered by these institutions are an effort to provide more qualified teachers to teach in schools. National Accreditation Board approves teacher training programs to ensure quality.
The National Board of Accreditation authorizes teacher education programs based on the structure and content of courses suggested by the institution. Therefore, the studies conducted by the various institutions vary in content and structure. For example, the subject content of the Institute of Education, University of the Cape Coast is slightly different from the study content and the content of the Center for Continue Education, University of Cape Coast after three years of training. The DBE and the four-year Diploma in Basic Education (UTDBE) programs run by CoEs are similar, but not identical. The same can be said of the two-year Post-Diploma in Basic Education, the four-year Bachelor’s degree programs offered by the University of Cape Coast, the University of Education, Winneba and other Universities and University Colleges. In fact, although, the same products attract the same customers, the customization of the products is done in different ways.
It is through these many programs that teachers are being prepared for primary schools – from kindergarten to high school. Alternative methods, or teacher training programs, appear to be good in situations where there is a shortage of teachers and additional teachers need to be trained in a very short time. A typical example is the UTDBE program, mentioned above, which aims to equip non-professional teachers with professional skills. But this effort to produce more teachers, due to a shortage of teachers, has a tendency to combine quality.
As noted by Xiaoxia, Heeju, Nicci and Stone (2010) the factors that contribute to teacher education and teacher retention problems are varied and complex, but one thing teachers are concerned about in some ways teacher teaching is happening. The main purpose of many methods is to expedite teachers in the teaching profession. This briefly changed the required teacher adjustments needed by prospective teachers before becoming classroom teachers. Those who prefer alternative routes, such as Teach for America (TFA), according to Xiaoxia, Heeju, Nicci and Stone (2010) have defended their approach by saying that although students are busy with a short period of pre-service training. , students are academically intelligent so they have the ability to learn a lot in a short amount of time. Some argue that in subjects such as English, Science and Mathematics where there is often a shortage of teachers, alternatives should be deliberately opened to students who have studied English, Mathematics and Science at the graduate level. None of these arguments support alternatives, substituting for other teacher education programs in Ghana, where academically intelligent students refrain from teaching for the reasons that I will come to.
If the goal is to fill vacant classes, teacher readiness issues are postponed, in some way. Right in the selection phase, alternatives simplify the need to enter into teacher education programs. While, for example, the second batch of UTDBE students were accepted, I can say with certainty that the requirements for joining the CoEs were not met. It was emphasized that the applicant must be a non-professional primary school teacher who has previously worked for the Ghanaian Education Department, and that the applicant holds a certificate above the Basic Education Certificate Examination. The distances obtained did not matter. If this approach had not been created, CoEs would not have trained students who were not eligible to enroll in the standard DBE program. However, it leaves its trajectory with a detrimental effect on quality.
Even though there are standard DBE programs, I have noticed, I recently have to say that CoEs, in particular, do not attract very high students. This as I have learned now has a profound effect on both the quality of the teacher and the success of the teacher. The fact is, teacher education programs in Ghana are not considered reputable programs and therefore higher education applicants do not have access to education programs. Therefore most applicants who apply for teacher education programs have lower grades. When the requirement to enter the DBE CoEs program for the 2016/2017 academic year was published, I noticed that the minimum entry marks were reduced from C6 to D8 at West African Senior Secondary.