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Teachers to be licensed before they can teach

Ghanaian TeachersAll newly trained teachers in Ghana will soon be required to acquire licences after their professional training to be able to practise as qualified teachers, the Director of the Teacher Education Division of the Ghana Education Service (GES), Dr Mrs Evelyn Owusu Oduro, has said.

Currently, a draft Pre-tertiary Teacher Professional Development and Management (PTPDM) policy project is being fine-tuned to outline the implementation plan, including the framework for the career progression of teachers.
The project is being implemented by the GES and the National Teaching Council (NTC), with support from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Addressing the second joint coordination committee of the PTPDM meeting in Accra last Friday, Dr Oduro said when the policy became fully operational, it would require all newly trained teachers to go through specific mandatory training programmes and orientation before being appraised for licensing.

The meeting reviewed the progress and achievement of the PTPDM project in the first year, with a view to resolving any challenges that might have occurred.
Dr Oduro said Clause 35 of the National Teaching Authority (NTA) mandated that certified teachers be registered and issued with the NTA’s licence to teach.

“This clause enables the teaching authority to refuse to certify and register a person as a teacher. A grievance procedure is provided for a person who is refused registration,” she explained.
The four-year PTPDM project, which spans 2014 to 2018, is also intended to establish a career progression mechanism for teachers in the country.

Pilot programme
Under the project, five districts are presently running a pilot programme on the procedure as to how the licensing will be applied.
They are Shai Osudoku, Greater Accra Region; Upper Manya Krobo, Eastern; Ajumako-Enyan-Essiam, Central; Kassena-Nankana East, Upper East, and Savelugu-Nanton, Northern.

JICA’s commitment
The Senior Representative of JICA Ghana, Mr Hiroshi Sumiyoshi, commended all partners and stakeholders of the project for their effort, commitment and courage to make the tough decisions and see to the achievement of the objectives of the project.

“JICA is solidly behind you and is always ready to offer its support, especially in the educational sector, to ensure that the children of Ghana can have a secure future,” he said.
The District Training Officer and PTPDM Coordinator for Shai Osudoku, Mr Francis Tei Otchere Sarpong, said consistent in-service education and training were vital for the professional growth and development of the practising teacher.

Challenges and recommendations
Sharing some of the challenges the district encountered in its one year of implementation, he said the Public Services Commission’s performance appraisal system was cumbersome and needed a better and more comprehensive understanding and skills for its implementation.

He recommended that the appraisal system be fine-tuned to meet the professional requirements of the GES.
“The delay in posting of teachers delayed the induction of beginning teachers, which actually took place in February instead of before the academic year begins,” he said.
Mr Sarpong recommended that the posting of newly trained teachers be done early enough for the induction training.
Cr: Severious Kale Dery

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