Teaching is an art, which means that the teacher should have some attributes that make teaching come naturally and he/she must bring himself/herself into his/her teaching.
Indeed, some of the greatest teachers in history, such as Confucius, Jesus Christ and Mohammed, did not have formal training but they were able to influence a great number of people with their teaching.
But new knowledge and proven research findings indicate that to be an effective teacher, one must have knowledge in the principles and methods of teaching, the teaching and learning process, the psychology of learning, the developmental stages of learning, the teacher as a professional, classroom management and administration, test construction, among many others which cannot be attained without a conscious, formalised system of learning and training.
This makes modern teaching both an art and a science.
So in the history of education in Ghana, we have moved from teachers’ professional qualifications such as Post B, Post A, 2-year post-secondary, 3-year post-secondary to specialist training of teachers.
Currently, Ghana is inching towards the level where it envisages to have first degree holders with education component as the least qualification to teach in our basic schools.
But even with this improvement in the standard of teachers, the question has remained as to whether the knowledge gained in the universities and other training institutions is enough to make our teachers truly professionals.
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In fact, a profession should have autonomy, power, a professional association, high standards of professional and intellectual excellence and a licensing regime. By strict interpretation and definition, therefore, licensing of teachers becomes imperative for them to become true professionals.
Indeed, the importance of the examination is numerous because, among others, it will ensure that the country has a crop of quality teachers who will raise the standard of teaching in Ghana and guide our children in the current competitive knowledge-based global economy to be able to stand toe to toe with their counterparts from other parts of the world, as well as prepare Ghanaian teachers to be accepted globally.
The Daily Graphic is happy to note that teachers generally and their professional associations agreed to the licensing of teachers, though they had raised concerns over what they termed the rush in instituting a licensing regime without giving their members time to adequately prepare for the exams.
Fortunately, understanding prevailed and the first licensure exams went ahead, with the results being released by the National Teacher Council.
According to the results, 74 per cent (21,287) of the candidates passed, while 7,432 failed. Although the Daily Graphic does not have full details of the results, the failure rate is an indication that the results are not outside the standard distribution table, although it was our wish that all the candidates had sailed through successfully.
As we congratulate those who have been successful, we wish those who could not make it the best of luck next time and encourage them not to be perturbed but try again with the next batch in March this year to make it to the professional class.
As discussions on the outcome of the licensure exam go on, the Daily Graphic is happy about the clarification that teachers already in the field will not be required to write the examination but will rather undertake in-service training programmes in order to obtain the licence.
This had been a vexed issue and we think all teachers, both on the field and new ones, will take advantage of the respective modes to acquire the licence for their own good and for the good of the country’s education.
We also hope the NTC will use the maiden edition to improve subsequent ones.