Henceforth, all candidates applying to enter the colleges of education will be required to buy admission forms from the universities to which the colleges are affiliated.
The Minister of Education, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, who announced this when the ministry took its turn at the meet-the-press series in Accra yesterday, explained that the colleges of education were now an integral part of the various universities and would not be awarding certificates or diplomas to their graduates any longer.
"So this year all the colleges of education had to go through strict criteria for their curricula to be approved by the National Accreditation Board (NAB) and the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE)," he said.
He explained that it meant that all teacher trainees would be awarded degrees by the universities to which their colleges of education were affiliated.
Dr Prempeh was supported by the Minister of State in charge of Tertiary Education, Prof. Kwesi Yankah; the Deputy Minister of Education in charge of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), Mrs Babarah Asher Ayisi; a Deputy Director-General of the GES, Dr K. Tandoh, and the various agency heads and directors at the ministry.
Increased admission request
He said while there were concerns that the change from diploma to degree would discourage candidates, this year recorded the highest number of candidates seeking admission to the colleges of education in the history of the country.
Dr Prempeh said about 53,000 candidates applied for admission to the colleges this year through the various universities, describing it as the single highest number of applicants so far.
He was of the view that the numbers increased because the candidates felt that they would be at an equal level with their counterparts in the universities.
“When we made it coequal, we realised that many more people are seeking for admission,” he said, noting that although it had implications on the government’s budget, it was nonetheless focused on the development of the human resource.
He said one of the exciting things about teacher reforms was that with the introduction of the degree programme, teachers would no longer have to abandon the classrooms for top-up in the universities or undertake distance education.
Dr Prempeh expressed the hope that after graduation, they would accept to move into the teaching profession, adding that those who would want to be professional teachers would be required to write the licensure examination in order to be qualified as professional teachers.
On the first licensure examination written this year, Dr Prempeh said even though he could not comment on it because the matter was before a law court, the performance of the candidates was not impressive.
Global Teacher Prize
Dr Prempeh said he was happy that 30 Ghanaian teachers applied for this year's Global Teacher Prize, which has a $1-million reward.
He said it was the first time such number of teachers from Ghana were taking part in the competition.
“The first Ghanaian who entered the competition last year progressed to be among the 50 topmost teachers in the world,” he disclosed.
Deployment of teachers
On the deployment of teachers, Dr Prempeh said henceforth teachers would be put where they were needed, adding that the employment of teachers would be based on need assessment.
According to him, there were more teachers than required in some metropolitan areas, while some districts lacked teachers.
“So even though we are employing many more teachers every year, we seem to be deploying them to the same places teachers are not needed,” he said.
He hinted that he was in talks with some embassies for the export of teachers to countries where their services would be needed.