The National Democratic Congress Communications Officer, Sammy Gyamfi Esq. has justified the decision by the Former President and the National Democratic Congress flagbearer John Dramani Mahama to cancel the Teachers’ Licensure Examinations when elected into power in 2025.
According to him, Former President John Dramani Mahama and the National Democratic Congress fully support the Licensing and Registration of Teachers as required by sections 12 & 13 of the Education Act (ACT 778), 2008, however, what it is against is the use of a ‘needless’ Licensure Exam as the basis or precondition for licensing teachers.
In a statement issued on Monday, November 20 2023, Mr Gyamfi indicated that the Teacher Trainees that undertake a 4-year Bachelor of Education degree program in the various Colleges of Education in the country are taught and examined in not less than fifty (50) courses over eight (8) semesters and therefore the current arrangement of licensing them outside their program requirement is not justifiable.
“It is worthy of note, that the curriculum for each semester includes a mandatory field practical course called Supported Teaching in Schools (STS). This practical academic activity is climaxed with a rigorous full-semester mandatory internship course during the first semester of level 400. During this period, Teacher Trainees are assigned to the field to understudy mentors in classrooms and practically guided to teach. Trainees are required to prepare lesson notes, and reflective journals among others, for assessment. After successfully passing eight (8) semester examinations involving not less than 30 courses, including the mandatory full-semester internship course, Teacher Trainees graduate from school and are issued with Bachelor of Education Degree certificates.
“One would have thought, that the right thing for government to do after this, would have been to simply license and employ these teachers and pay them the appropriate salary as the practice had always been before the current NPP government took office. Sadly, this is not the case now. They now require Teacher Trainee graduates who have successfully passed all their course exams in school including the mandatory field internship program, to undertake another examination called Licensure Examination before they are licensed to teach- an examination that has no active guide whatsoever.Sammy Gyamfi Esq.
The National Communications Officer of the opposition party further accused President Akufo-Addo and the New Patriotic Party of institutionalising the Teacher Licensure Examination to deliberately suppress teacher recruitment in the country,
He also chastised the ruling government for subjecting Teacher Trainees to undertake a one-year compulsory National Service even though their 4-year academic curriculum already involves intense teaching support services to the state.
Furthermore, Mr Gyamfi alleged that several Teacher Trainee graduates have failed after taking the ‘obnoxious’ licensure exam without any justifiable reason.
He noted that many of the ‘qualified teachers’ have been made to stay home without any job even after they have written the Licensure Examination and out of ‘desperation’, some have been forced to ‘pay bribes’ to officials of the National Teaching Council to get a license.
“The marking scheme for the obnoxious licensure examination remains a mystery. The pass mark is whimsically and capriciously adjusted depending on the number of qualified teachers the government intends to deny employment every year. Even worse is the fact that some teachers who failed the obnoxious licensure exam on their first attempt but have eventually managed to pass the exam have been denied posting and are sitting home idle”.Sammy Gyamfi Esq.
Sammy Gyamfi Accuses Government Of Suppressing Teacher Recruitment
Moreover, the National Communications Officer of the opposition National Democratic Congress asserted that the inability of the government to employ all Teacher Trainee graduates is mainly a result of financial constraints on the part of the government which has led government to devise a plan to use the ‘obnoxious’ licensure exam to suppress the number of teachers it employs every year under the ‘guise of licensing teachers’
Mr Gyamfi described the arrangement as ‘very unfair’ and stressed the reason the party’s flagbearer has promised to cancel it when elected as President in election 2024.
More so, Mr Gyamfi emphasized that section 13 of the Education Act requires professional certification as the basis for licensing and registering teachers and hence any policy or proposal intended to improve ‘quality assurance’ must focus on improving ‘pre-certification education standards and examination’ in Colleges of Education and not the current arrangement.
According to him, if under any circumstances the government considers that all the academic examinations and field works Teacher Trainees are taken through during their 4-year school programs are not enough for ‘quality assurance’, then the government must take steps to improve ‘pre-certification teaching and examination standards’ in line with best practices rather than subjecting Teacher Trainee to write licensure examinations.
He indicated that if the government roll out such measures, there will be no need for another exam to license teachers after they have successfully graduated.
“Using myself as an example, the pre-certification course and exam in the law school where I attended is very rigorous and competitive. Once you pass it and successfully undertake the mandatory internship course, you are licensed and called to the Bar. You are not required to write another licensure exams before you are licensed as a lawyer. Neither are you required to undertake compulsory national service before you are licensed.
“You are only required to do pupillage after you are licensed as a lawyer. This practice is the same for doctors and other professional bodies. For the avoidance of doubt, licensing is not the same as Licensure Examination. I am a licensed lawyer but I was not required to write any licensure exam before I was licensed as a lawyer. The NDC started piloting the licensing of teachers in the year 2016 without examination. We were ready to fully roll out the policy for the 2016/2017 academic year before we lost power”.Sammy Gyamfi Esq.
Against this backdrop, Mr Gyamfi asserted the next National Democratic Congress administration under John Dramani Mahama would cancel the Teacher’s Licensure Examination and remove its attendant mandated National Service for the benefit of many teacher-trainee students in the country.
“The visionary Nation Builder has spoken in very clear terms on this matter. No attempt to spin this well-thought-out policy will wash. The obnoxious Teachers’ Licensure Exams and superfluous National Service will be cancelled after John Mahama is sworn in as President on 7th January 2025. “Insha Allah!” Teacher trainees deserve to be automatically licensed and employed after completing their 4-year programs”.Sammy Gyamfi Esq.
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