The Colleges of Education Weekly Journal (CoEWJ) recently organised a two-day National Dialogue on Initial Teacher Education at the Bediako Hall, GNAT Headquarters in Accra.
The dialogue took place on Wednesday and Thursday, 27th and 28th July 2022, under the theme “4-years into the transformation of Colleges of Education into Degree Awarding Institutions – Realities and the way forward”.
The National Dialogue brought together a range of stakeholders from the Ministry of Education, National Teaching Council (NTC), Conference of Principals of Colleges of Education (PRINCOF), Ghana Tertiary Education Commission (GTEC), Transforming Teaching, Education and Learning (T-TEL), Principals and staff of all 46 Public Colleges of Education, Student Teachers, Colleges of Education Teachers Association of Ghana (CETAG), Mentoring Universities, Teacher Trainees’ Association of Ghana (TTAG), Teacher Unions, Colleges of Education Non-Teaching Staff Association of Ghana (CENTSAG), Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), Churches/Missions and Education Experts to deliberate and assess the quality of teacher education, the fidelity of implementation of the Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) curriculum and discuss the future direction of teacher education in Ghana.
The event was chaired by Ms. Elizabeth Akua Ohene, a renowned journalist and former Minister of State for Tertiary Education. In her acceptance speech she stated that she was always excited to be a part of conversations that involved education because “teachers are important in my life. Both my parents were teachers, and I know I am who I am and became what I became because of teachers.” She added that teachers are extremely important because they lay the foundation for every country’s development. She further said that we must have confidence and trust in our education system.
“Let’s have confidence in ourselves because we have every reason to be confident and then having done that, let’s be proud of what we do and let’s communicate as much to the public.”
The Chairperson speaking at the national dialogue
The Editor-in-Chief of the CoEWJ, Mr. Larry K. Agbador, explained that the dialogue is targeted at achieving consensus amongst stakeholders as to the best ways to keep improving Ghanaian teacher education, saying:
“Let us all come out of this dialogue united in thought on the way forward for the growth of our Colleges of Education. I have no doubt that the 46 public Colleges of Education will take giant steps in the process of development after this dialogue… I am hopeful that participants will succumb their personal preference to the national interest for an open conversation on the challenges facing the transformation of the Colleges to offer quality education to student teachers.”
Larry K. Agbador, Editor-in-Chief of the CoEWJ delivering a speech
On his part, Robin Todd, the Executive Director of T-TEL, evidenced the transformation which had taken place in Colleges of Education in recent years, a transformation that many members of the Ghanaian public remain unaware of:
“There issues, but these should not disguise the fact that there has been an absolute transformation in the quality of teacher education in Ghana over the past five years.”
Robin Todd, Executive Director of T-TEL addressing participants at the national dialogue
Robin Todd quoted data from GTEC’s annual surveys, conducted nationwide since 2015, which showed that the number of beginning teachers meeting the National Teachers’ Standards and using learner-centred approaches in the classroom had increased from less than 2% in 2015 to over 40% today.
He commended Colleges’ leadership for the system improvements and urged them to share these transformations with the broader public. “What we need to do now is use the changes in the Colleges of Education to influence the rest of the education system because you are the beacon of hope to the rest of the education system, graduating 16,000 high quality new student teachers entering our basic schools every year.”
The Special Guest of Honour, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum, Minister for Education, pledged the government’s support in continuing to transform Colleges of Education across the country in the expectation that the training of quality teachers will go a long way to transform the entire education system. He said “…we need to create a new teaching and learning environment where students would feel empowered and it should begin in our Colleges of Education. The way we train our trainees will empower them to do something different when they get into the classrooms across the country.”
Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum speaking about government’s commitment to transforming education in Ghana
He further mentioned that “the Government of Ghana is doing everything to make sure we can transform the teaching and learning environment. We are not there yet, but we have done some work in that area and will continue to do more.”
In his remarks, the Keynote speaker for the event, Professor Jophus Anamuah-Mensah, contended that the Colleges of Education should hold onto their core mandate of developing quality teachers for the education sector. He emphasised that “in Singapore, teachers are described as nation builders and, indeed, that is what they are. Teachers are nation builders. The men and women we see in front of our classrooms building the knowledge and skills of our children, they are nothing else but nation builders. If so, then the machinery that produces the nation builders, that is, the Colleges of Education also need to be supported in such a way that they can produce the nation builders.”
He indicated that Colleges of Education must serve as knowledge innovation hubs and agents of change in their communities and localities to address basic education learning needs. In so doing they can then become centres for the renewal of the African mind.
Prof. Anamuah-Mensah delivering the keynote address
Despite the challenges, Prof. Anamuah-Mensah stated that we cannot overestimate the Colleges’ contribution to the country’s development.
“Colleges of Education are at the forefront of the transformation of the education system in the country – therefore their need for support in terms of infrastructure, resources and their status needs to be given the urgent attention. This support, at the moment is not forthcoming. Equally important is the core mandate of preparing teachers, including the provision of pedagogical skills, GESI responsive pedagogy and assessment, integration of technology, and acquisition of soft skills… It is time to respect and see those men and women at the front of the classroom, educating our children as Nation Builders. For that’s what they are!”
The two-day programme tabled seven themes for respective panel discussions. These themes were;
- Financing the Colleges of Education
- Staff Attrition in the Colleges of Education
- Roadmap for Colleges of Education beyond the initial 4 years of affiliation with mentoring Universities
- Infrastructural Deficits in the Colleges of Education
- Admission Process of Students into the Colleges of Education
- Governance Issues in the Colleges of Education
- Professional Practice: Supported Teaching in School/ School Placement and Mentorship
Panel discussions at the national dialogue
The national dialogue was very interactive, with panel discussions on the above mentioned issues. Key points from the panel discussions include;
- Colleges of Education must ensure that they are producing teachers who have what it takes to meet the National Teachers’ Standards. There is a need to strengthen the College system and encourage the best young people to become teachers.
- It is essential to emphasize and use Supported Teaching in School (STS) and the National Teachers’ Standards (NTS) as the anchor of teacher education in Ghana.
- Governing Councils in the Colleges of Education must be reconstituted and made to understand their roles and functions in the college system.
Participants at the event
A cross-section of student teachers at the event
The recommendations that emanated from the panel discussions will be formally presented to the government through the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Tertiary Education Commission by the CoEWJ. It is anticipated that the recommendations will contribute to achieving the goals and objectives of teacher education through the transformational agenda of the Ministry of Education and the government in so far as teacher education is concerned.
Download Prof. Jophus Anamuah-Mensah’s keynote address here.