The next generation of Ghana’s teachers must be sufficiently prepared to succeed in improving on the learning of Ghana’s schoolchildren. Improvement planning is an integral part of quality assurance, leadership and institutional development in education. It creates the benchmark necessary for measuring high quality standards and delivering excellence in education.
To ensure this happens effectively, 38 of the country’s Colleges of Education (CoEs) – responsible for educating Ghana’s teachers - are currently undertaking rigorous planning efforts to improve and strengthen their leadership and management structures and systems.
Colleges of Education will be supported to develop their own institutional Roadmaps based on their College Improvement Plans (CIPs), and derived from a Master Road map developed by the NCTE for the transformation of Colleges of Education into effective and functioning tertiary institutions in accordance with the Colleges of Education Law (Act 847) 2012. A key part of the process is helping CoE Leadership teams and Governing Councils to devise and implement their own College Improvement Plans (CIPs). College improvement planning also assists colleges to identify and bridge gaps in their operations and professional and academic development. They also enable college leadership to set out their own roadmaps to transition into successful tertiary institutions – a goal that aligns with the Ministry of Education’s policy for colleges and the teacher education sector as a whole.
This process is supported by Transforming Teacher Education and Learning (T-TEL), a Government of Ghana programme funded by UK aid. Strengthening planning procedures will enable colleges to function with greater efficiency and project themselves as institutions delivering the highest quality of teacher preparation and training. This will lead to the recruitment of the strongest possible candidates to study and train as teachers and go on to provide children with the highest quality education.
Incentive Funds for College improvement
To further encourage colleges to implement these plans effectively, T-TEL is providing funds to reward innovation and progress. The ‘Payment by Results’ (PBR) fund – launched this July - is designed to incentivise CoEs to work towards their agreed improvement targets.
A second fund - the Challenge Fund launched in late 2015 - provides financing for Colleges and their partners to implement innovative activities that support improvements in teaching, learning, gender responsiveness and management. Improvements in planning however are also being rewarded. Colleges across the country are encouraged to work with each other and in partnership with other institutions like Universities, District Education Offices and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to develop innovations for improvement and ensure colleges increase their capacity to manage and spend these funds effectively.
College Improvement Planning – What does this mean in practice?
College Improvement Planning is a process of supported critical review and reflection, using College Assessment Instruments developed by T-TEL in collaboration with the Institute of Educational Planning and Administration (IEPA). College teams have been working together to review evidence and identify priorities for improvement of their teaching and learning processes and practice, institutional structure, systems and management procedures as a whole. This process will in future form part of an annual self-assessment and planning cycle that will subsequently be validated by the governing councils of each college.
Following the leadership training provided to all college leadership teams ‘Setting a New Direction’, CoEs are supported by T-TEL’s College Improvement Advisors to develop College Improvement Plans (CIPs). The overall process of developing the CIP has seven stages:
1. Conduct a self-assessment
2. Establish priorities for improvement
3. Identify “smart” objectives
4. Identify targets and success criteria for each objective
5. Identify those responsible for implementing the plan
6. Implement activities and monitor outcomes
7. Review and report outcomes
After taking these steps, each college now has a comprehensive College Improvement Plan (CIP). The CIPs will then feed into a longer term three to five -year College Development Plan, developed with further support from T-TEL. These plans will then be shared with the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE) and National Accreditation Board (NAB) through the Colleges of Education Management Information System (CEMIS), which is currently in development by NCTE with support from T-TEL.
What College Improvement Planning has achieved so far
Improvement planning in Colleges of Education has already generated significant results for the benefit of Ghana’s future teachers. Recent achievements include:
• Hundred per cent of Colleges represented by their leadership teams received four days of Systems Leadership Training with a focus on Improvement Planning, Policy Formulation and Gender Responsive Management
• Colleges have assessed their Gender Responsiveness using a gender scorecard, and training on gender responsive budgeting and processes for developing a gender and inclusion and Sexual Harassment Policy
• Colleges have identified areas for improvement, selected three priority areas and developed an initial plan
• Following this, 100 per cent of colleges submitted revised College Improvement Plans
• The Leadership Programme (Leading Institutional Strengthening -Operations Leadership) has been developed to include a gender-responsive management focus
• College Road mapping of paths to fully functioning tertiary institutions has been captured in the Leadership Programme Resource material
• In collaboration with NAB and NCTE, the Leadership and Quality Assurance aspect of the Teaching Learning Handbook has been developed.
The next step is for a Memorandum of Understanding to be signed between T-TEL, all CoEs and NCTE. As part of their oversight responsibility to colleges, NCTE will provide monitoring support so that targets are implemented on time and any potential obstacles are promptly identified and remedied where possible.
This article was written by the Communications & Learning Team of the Transforming Teacher Education and Learning (T-TEL) in Ghana Programme in consultation with T-TEL’s National Programme Manager. For any queries, please contact T-TEL at [email protected] or visit www.t-tel.org to find out more about the programme.