The National Service Scheme (NSS) and the National Teaching Council (NTC) will, from September this year, roll out a programme that will allow national service persons posted to the classrooms without teaching certificates but who are willing to teach after their service to obtain professional teaching certificates.
On completion of the one-year online professional teacher training programme, the service persons will be issued with postgraduate certificates in education and registered for the teacher licensure examination to become professional teachers, after which they will be considered for employment by the Ghana Education Service (GES).
This followed a memorandum of understating (MoU) signed between the two institutions which aims at improving teaching and learning in the classrooms.
Besides, the MoU fulfills provisions of the Education Regulatory Bodies Act 2020, (Act 1023), which enjoins the NTC to ensure that only professionally trained and qualified teachers are deployed to teach in schools.
The Executive Director of the NSS, Osei Assibey Antwi, disclosed this in an interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra yesterday in a follow-up to an announcement he made during the 12th Annual Terminal Congress of the National Service Personnel Association (NASPA) in Takoradi last Saturday to that effect.
At that congress, he had said starting from the 2022-2023 service year, prospective service persons to be deployed to the classroom would go through 14 days of pedagogical training and issued with a temporary certificates to teach.
The congress was on the theme: “Enhancing the Welfare of National Service Personnel for Economic Revitalisation and National Development”.
Mr Antwi said the scheme was collaborating with the relevant stakeholders, such as the NTC, the GES, the Ghana Tertiary Education Commission (GTEC), the Ghana Technical and Vocational Education Training Service and the vice-chancellors of public universities, to deliver the training programme.
In a memo to the NSS in February this year, which the Daily Graphic has seen, the NTC noted that as the country continuously faced inadequate qualified teachers in schools, it had, over the decades, leveraged the NSS to augment its staffing.
Signed by the Registrar of the NTC, Dr Christian Addai-Poku, the memo, however, stated that a huge number of the service persons who were deployed to the classrooms every year did not have any knowledge at all about teaching techniques and skills set.
Accordingly, it said it was imperative that the anomaly was corrected, in line with provisions of Act 1023, which criminalises teaching without appropriate authorisation by the NTC.
“The National Teacher Council Law allows the NTC to set conditions to issue temporary certificates to people who, though not trained as teachers, are desirous to teach. It is, therefore, possible to apply this aspect of the law to the service persons,” the memo stated.
“Over the past four years, the NTC, like other African Union member nations, has embarked on a teacher professionalism exercise which seeks to ensure that only trained teachers who are licensed are sent to schools to practise as teachers.
“Indeed, to attain the Sustainable Development Goals 4c (SDGs 4c), the SDG enjoins governments to ensure that only professionally trained and qualified teachers are deployed to schools.
This is further reinforced by Ghana's Education Strategic Plan 2018-2030 (ESP 2018–2030) through the implementation of the Pre-tertiary Teacher Professional Development and Management (PTPDM) policy. There is an abundance of evidence proving that getting the teacher factor right in the classroom means scaling about half of the hurdles causing poor school outcomes,” it added.
In his address at the NASPA congress, Mr Antwi had indicated that his outfit had initiated a number of interventions, such as NSS in Affordable Classroom Housing, NSS Youth and Women in Agriculture and NSS in Affordable Teachers Housing, aimed at supporting Ghana’s development agenda, while creating job opportunities for the graduate youth.
“These and others are geared towards improving the employment rate of national service personnel after their one-year mandatory service to the state,” the NSS boss said, and urged NASPA and all service personnel to embrace the opportunities to transition into jobs after the training and certification.
Throwing more light on the scheme’s new mission of ‘Deployment for Employment’, Mr Antwi said it was crucial to enhance the welfare of national service personnel for economic revitalisation and national development.
The Omanhene of the Essikado Traditional Area, Nana Kobina Nketsia V, who chaired the event, urged national service personnel to wholeheartedly embrace the many innovative opportunities and interventions the scheme had made available to help them transition into the working world with hope.
He encouraged the personnel to be humble and patriotic and offer themselves to be trained, since the knowledge acquired in school alone could not guarantee them jobs.
The Omanhene admonished the youth not to offer themselves to be used by politicians who might have parochial interests.
Nana Nketsia commended the Kumawuhene, Barima Sarfo Tweneboa Kodua, for allotting large tracts of land to the NSS for its agricultural project.
He rallied support for the scheme’s agricultural project and called on the personnel to support and take up agriculture as a sustainable alternative livelihood venture.
The leadership of NASPA later presented citations to some management members of the scheme and Nana Kobina Nketsia V for their dedication to NASPA in resolving issues affecting the youth.