The National Teaching Council (NTC) has held a two-day workshop to discuss and review deliverables on Continuous Professional Development (CPD), Licensing, Registration and Examination Procedures to improve on the professional competencies of teachers nationwide.
As a regulatory body, the Council is mandated by the 2008 Education Act, Act 778 to make teaching a profession through licensing and registration of teachers; setting standards for teachers; mapping and coordinating activities of CPD providers and supporting teacher training institutions to produce the needed manpower in the pre tertiary level.
In view of this, NTC of the Ministry of Education announced few years ago that teachers, including teacher trainees, would have to pass a special examination before acquiring a license to practice the profession. The move is to ensure discipline and weed out non-performing teachers from the educational system.
Renewal of the licenses would be based on professional competence and development of teachers, according to the Council. However, some teacher unions, especially the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) kicked against the new policy, calling for more stakeholder consultation on the implementation of the policy to license teachers in the country.
It is against this backdrop that the NTC has rolled up series of workshops and stakeholder consultation on the implementation of the new policy, including the benchmark for CPD, guidelines on registration and licensing of teachers, and guidelines on quality teachers’ status assessment.
Addressing the two-day workshop on the theme” Professionalism and Quality Teacher Status (QTS)”, a Policy Institutional Development Consultant, Dr. Sam Kwaku Awuku, noted that teaching was a complex, multifaceted professional activity which involved “an art, a science and a craft.” He said “The art of teaching is about being responsive and creative, as well as developing intuitive capabilities and the science of teaching is about using research and other forms of evidence to inform decisions about how to teach. The Craft of teaching is about mastering the full range of skills and practices needed by teachers to discharge their professional duties effectively,” Dr. Awuku added.
Dr. Awuku noted that the licensing of teachers was key to ensure professionalism at the educational sector and added that the licensing regime would enable NTC to smoke out unprofessional teachers from the system. To this end, he suggested to the NTC to include proficiency skills test, good literacy and good numeracy as standard requirements for licensing of teachers as done in the United Kingdom. “It is expected that every professional teacher needs to be literate in terms of English, numeracy and to communicate well with our learners”, he said. “Numeracy and Literacy are foundational skills that every child needs to have to be able to function effectively to become a life-long learner”.
Dr. Awuku advised teacher unions to disabuse their minds from taking radical stance on issues and brand themselves as professional bodies to make the education sector vibrant. He said no country could develop without professional teachers and called on all stakeholders to embrace the new policy to put the country’s educational system on a giant pedestal. “No country can develop without appreciating the professionalism of teachers. If we professionise the profession and everybody is proud of it, people are likely to stay in it. Even when they step out of it. They will be contributing to it,” he added.
The Provost of the College of Education Studies, Prof. Eric Magnus Wilmot, speaking on Continuous Professional Development (CPD) Policy, mentioned numerous CPD activities professional teachers should undertake before securing promotion. He said people should earn promotion on merit but not on the basis of long service. “People must earn their promotion. We should not use “MPA” to promote people. We should not use long service as basis for promotion. If you decided not to improve yourself to convince us that you are active as a professional. I don’t see why you should be promoted,” he said.
He said dormant teachers who don’t make use of CPD activities should be sanctioned, adding that” If there are licenses and there are no consequences, the license is useless”.