“Let us allow NTC to work devoid of politics” – Dr. Christian Addai-Poku
The Acting Executive Secretary of the National Teaching Council, Dr. Christian Addai-Poku has made a passionate appeal to Ghanaians to allow the National Teaching Council to carry out its mandate devoid of partisan politics.
In an exclusive Personality Profile interaction with the Colleges of Education News Journal, the former NAGRAT President who now heads the National Teaching Council in responding to a question on how he feels with the politicization of the teacher licensing process stated that “I feel sad.
As a nation, we must be able to distinguish between things that are of value and things that are populist in their architecture. Certain things can win votes but are regrettable. So deep down, I pray whoever is in charge works on making it better and not reverse the gains made”.
When asked whether we are likely to get to a point in the future where the Licensure Examination will be canceled, Dr. Addai-Poku indicated that “I do not believe that. It can be reformed in different ways but a total cancelation is what I do not think will happen and I pray it does not happen.
Stakeholders have worked very hard to get to this stage of the Teacher Licensure and it will be unfortunate for it to be reversed.
It is quite essential in the NTC’s quality assurance function. I always take the words of former President Barack Obama that it is important to build strong institutions than strong personalities.
Building strong institutions means that you allow the professionals to take the decisions and advise the government rather than the government making promises and later give to the professionals to help execute the promises.
At least, the first and best example I can give is Nigeria. For them, even the in-service teachers also write the licensure exams”.
Reacting to issues of mandatory National Service for Newly Trained Teachers after writing the Licensure exams, Dr. Addai-Poku stated that “I do not believe they are against it.
However, the place to make their concerns known is parliament since that is where the existing law was made.
Which requires any graduate to do a mandatory National Service. It is an issue of law and if we do not enforce it, we will be failing as a nation.
We all know that Colleges of Education are now fully-fledged tertiary institutions currently affiliated to five major public universities”.
The National Teaching Council’s mission is to promote excellence and professionalism among teachers and managers of schools by ensuring high standards at all levels of the education system through licensing of teachers, monitoring and supervision of teacher professional standards, and promotion of continuing professional development.
Teacher Licensing was introduced in 2018 for all final year Diploma in Basic Education (DBE) student teachers graduating from Colleges of Education.
Licensing is an important step in operationalizing the Government’s intentions to raise the professional status of teaching in Ghana to improve learning outcomes across basic schools.
The Government intends that every teacher needs to be registered and licensed to practice.
This License to practice will help to enhance the professional status of teaching as a profession, making it more attractive to new entrants and providing enhanced esteem to existing teachers.
It will enable the Government to ensure that teachers are practicing their chosen profession in line with the National Teachers’ Standards (NTS) – a nationally agreed measure of what is required of a ‘good’ teacher.
Licensing will thus play an important quality assurance function and, over time, demonstrate to the world that teachers trained through the Ghanaian system are performing to internationally recognized standards.
The initial Licensing process carried out in the second half of 2018 and the first half of 2019 involved the setting of written examinations for newly qualified teachers.
These examinations were intended to test teachers’ knowledge of both the National Teachers’ Standards and the subject content which they will be expected to deliver in classrooms.
On its own, a written examination is not sufficient to provide NTC with confidence that teachers are practically adhering to the NTS.
It also reinforces the ‘examinations culture’ which is too prominent across the Ghanaian education system and which the Government is trying to rebalance with an increased focus on practical and continuous assessment.
The NTC intends that the written examination will form the first part of the Licensing process and that this will then be complemented with a Portfolio Assessment which forms the second part of the process. Both parts will be required to obtain a license.
Source: News Desk, Colleges of Education Weekly Journal