A file photo of a teacher

The Institute for Education Studies (IFEST) has said the push by the Minority Caucus for the teacher licensure examination to be scrapped is not only “uninformed” but also “retrogressive”.

The Caucus, in a statement issued on Thursday, 26 August 2021, said the examination is “retrogressive and cannot bring out the best in the newly-trained teacher”, adding that it is a “demotivating and demoralising attempt to frustrate the teachers before they assume duty.”

“The position of the Minority is that the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service should, as a matter of urgency, suspend the conduct of any further teacher licensure examination and rather review the curriculum for teacher education and make the licensure an integral part of the course programme as credit hours to be earned by students towards their certification,” the statement signed by the Ranking Member of the Education Committee, Mr Peter Nortsu-Kotoe, said.

IFEST, in a counter-statement, said it “equally expresses serious concerns on the pass rate for the examination over the years”.

It noted that its “independent study on the GTLE conducted in 2020 revealed that gradually, teacher trainees have come to accept the licensing regime and hence scrapping it should not be an alternative.”

“It is, therefore, intriguing the consistency of the minority that the GTLE should be scrapped”, IFEST observed.

“This position was even captured in the NDC 2020 manifesto. We, however, feel that such a stance is highly uninformed and retrogressive.”

In a counter-statement to IFEST’s press release, Mr Ekow Djan, the Deputy TEIN Coordinator of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), described the position taken by IFEST as hypocritical.

Read the Deputy TEIN Coordinator’s full statement below:

RE: CALLS TO SCRAP TEACHER LICENSING EXAMINATION RETROGRESSIVE—IFEST 

1. I have become aware of a statement issued by the Institute for Education Studies (IFEST) which is seeking to downgrade the position of the Minority Caucus in Parliament on the need to cancel the Ghana Teacher Licensure Examination (GTLE).

2. In IFEST’s statement, an erroneous impression was created that trainee teachers have come to accept the licensing regime. As a former national executive of the Teacher Trainees Association of Ghana (TTAG), I can authoritatively tell that nine out of ten trainees will reject the GTLE on any day. The GTLE policy is unpopular in the corridors of trainees.

3. Again, for IFEST to suggest that the Education Act, Act 778 makes room for the National Teaching Council ( NTC) to conduct GTLE is factually inaccurate. Sections twelve (12) and thirteen (13) of the Education Act mandate the NTC to ONLY license and register teachers.

3. The qualification for a teacher to be issued with a license has been boldly stated in section 12 of the Education Act; that a teacher should possess, at least, an initial teacher certificate. Under no circumstance does the act authorises NTC to conduct examination for trainee teachers.

4. It’s a fact that until 2020 that President Akufo-Addo’s administration saw the passage of the Education Regulatory Bodies Act 2020, Act 1023, there was no law backing the NTC to conduct an examination.

5. The NTC has rather deviated from its mandate. Since 2018, no teacher from colleges of education has been registered and even till now over 50% of teachers have not been issued with a licence.

6. Clearly, the NTC is only interested in conducting examination without issuing professional license while candidates are made to pay GHS 200 for a non-existing licence.

7. IFEST is not interested in the mass failure of trainee teachers in the March 2021 GTLE and the rot being supervised by some officials at the NTC, rather than channelling their energy in fighting the Minority in Parliament who is only seeking to ensure that the poor trainee is treated fairly.

8. Let it be on records that per checks, all 17,000 candidates who earlier failed at least one of the three papers i.e. Numeracy, Literacy and Essential Skills failed the same paper(s) when they were given opportunity to re-sit in March 2021.

9. The NTC cannot point out to a single re-sitter who passed all three papers. The initial examination centres and the same results of the candidates still appeared on their new result slips hence the confirmation that their papers were not marked. The NTC only re-awarded them with the same results without even changing their examination centres.

10. The NTC shamefully changed the examination centres after their attention was drawn to it without altering the results. This grand failure of NTC has been tolerated to some extent yet they claim to be the implementors of best teaching standards.

11. Some inner officers of NTC are demanding GHS1,000 before they change the results of the unsuccessful candidates to pass. This is pure thievery. In the coming days, I shall invoke the authority of the National Intelligence Bureau to bring to book the officers who are perpetuating this crime at the headquarters of the National Teaching Council.

12. For the avoidance of doubt, as a former executive of TTAG, I hold no contrary view to the position of the Minority caucus. The GTLE is causing more harm than good hence the need to scrap it. If we really want to license teachers, the basis for issuance should be solely fieldwork. The competence of a teacher should be tested on the field and not at the examination hall.

13. IFEST claim of seeking quality education is neither here nor there. If indeed they are interested in ensuring quality teacher education, then they should be bold to call on the government to clear the seven-month allowance arrears owed trainee teachers.

14. IFEST should be bold to ask the government to pay the seven-month feeding grant arrears owed colleges of education.

15. Dr Peter Partey Anti and his team at IFEST should be bold to ask the government to post the over 2000 newly trained teachers who have been denied employment.

16. IFEST should be bold to ask the government to reinstate the automatic employment of teachers.

17. If indeed IFEST has balls, it should ask government to invest in constructing lecture rooms and hotels for colleges to do away with the double-track system they are currently running.

18. IFEST should ask the government to resume work on the GETFUND projects in the colleges that were started in 2015/16 academic year.

19. IFEST ultimately wants to tell us they have not seen nor heard about serial murder of the education sector— basic to tertiary— but Minority’s position on GTLE has fast reached their doorstep. The hypocrisy in this country is becoming way too much.

EKOW DJAN,

NATIONAL DEPUTY TEIN COORDINATOR, NDC

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