The Institute for Education Studies (IFEST) is threatening legal action against the National Teaching Council (NTC) if it fails to implement the teacher licensing regime by close of year.
Head of the Institute Dr Prince Armah is incensed by what he refers to as the unnecessary delay and feet dragging by some teacher unions which have stalled the process.
Speaking on GTV’s Talking Point programme, Sunday, Dr Armah wants the NTC to take the “bull by the horn” and have the teachers duly licensed.
“…As an Institute we are speaking to our legal team. If by the end of the year the NTC does not implement the licensing policy we will go to court. I can’t fathom why for ten solid years we can’t implement this policy,” he threatened.
The teaching profession like all others including the medical and legal must have a basic criteria of ensuring higher standards in the profession.
Section 7 of the Education Act 2008 (ACT 778) empowers the NTC to license all teachers in Ghana.
The teacher licensing regime is the highest mark of professional accomplishment which makes Ghanaian teachers part of a larger network of accomplished educators shaping the profession.
It is also a testimony that a teacher has met all standards required for the profession.
Per the law, the NTC has the responsibility to ensure that the examination meets technical, professional standards as well as an assessment of the teacher’s ability to manage his or her students competently.
However, ten years after passing the law, nothing substantial has happened.
An attempt to implement the policy this year has been met with some resistance.
Teacher trainees were expected to pay an amount of 220 cedis for the first licensure exams in July this year but due to the criticisms the policy has been suspended indefinitely by the NTC.
Dr Prince Armah whose institution, IFEST, has been instrumental in getting the law implemented is unhappy with the slow pace of progress made so far.
He said the licensing regime is part of the regulatory framework which the NTC must not compromise if it wants to improve the standards of the teaching profession.
He dismissed assertion the policy is being rushed, arguing, it is basic for every professional teacher to be licensed.
Dr Armah was however unimpressed with the initial consultative process to get the law implemented but was unequivocal, “the process is being overly delayed.”
“I think the teacher unions are dragging this,” he said.
There have been arguments over the appropriate procedures in certifying the teachers. While some have argued for all teachers to be certified others have called for only new graduating teachers to be certified.
Dr Armah believes all teachers can be registered but not all can be certified and licensed at least for now.
“When you are starting policy implementation like this, you can’t start wholesale. If we were to ask the teachers who are in the system now to come and write this exam it is going to create a problem.
“The initial understanding is that those in the system who are graduating from the teacher training institutions are to write the exams,” he stated.
The Deputy Education Minister Dr Osei Adutwum who was also on the show said he is excited at the opportunity to implement this policy after ten years.
He is convinced the licensing regime will make the teaching profession a lot more attractive.
Dr Adutwum said his outfit is dealing with the teacher unions as well as the NTC to have the licensing regime implemented.