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"One-Year Degree Top-Up Programme For Diploma Teachers Is A Blessing In Disguise" - Thomas Musah


The General Secretary of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), Thomas T. Musah says the introduction of the one-year degree top-up programme for teachers with diploma certificates by the Minister of Education, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, is a blessing in disguise.


According to him, he is grateful for the swift response adding the sector Minister indeed has teachers at heart.


He said “We want to say a very big thank you to the Honourable Minister for Education. He has done a great job in pushing this one-year top-up programme. Upon receipt of our letter on the issue, he acted swiftly, and here we are now. GNAT, therefore, says thank you, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh for your prompt action”.


The GNAT General Secretary tasked the diploma teachers to enrol in the programme.


He reiterated that they should bear in mind that by 2022, their posteriors in College will graduate with a degree and will be placed on the grade of Principal Superintendent.


The Institute of Education, the University of Cape Coast on October 5 officially released the admission notice.


The admission notice indicated that the 3-Semester Bachelor of Education (Post-Diploma in Basic Education) Programmes in the sandwich mode is starting in the first semester of 2020/2021 Academic Year.


He said "Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a blended mode of instruction will be adopted (thus online and face-to-face approach). Eligible students would be required to have a smartphone or tablet or any device that would allow them to connect to the internet. Applicants will be enrolled automatically onto their choice of programme on completion of an online form. No fee is required before the filling of application forms online. Only those who have passed the Diploma in Basic Education Examinations will be required to fill the form. Applicants will be required to fill the online form indicating the programme of their choice and the Study Centre, in line with their elective subject areas"


Background

On 23rd March 2020, the General Secretary of GNAT in a letter addressed to the Minister for Education appealed to the Minister on the need to introduce a one-year top-up programme for a diploma in Basic Education teachers to earn a Bachelor of Education degree. Below are excerpts of the letter addressed to the Minister for Education.


According to the Policy Reform on Teacher Education in Ghana-August 2017, the current three-year Diploma in Basic Education (DBE) curriculum, which is used for the initial training of teachers in the Colleges of Education, has not adequately responded to the need to improve children’s learning outcomes in the Basic School System.


The policy identified several other challenges faced by our school system because of the kind of training offered to pre-tertiary teachers in Ghana.


A fundamental rethinking and radical redesign of pre-service teacher training programmes are therefore required to achieve improvement in the quality of new teachers and the learning outcomes.


To resolve the problem, the Government of Ghana in 2017 initiated education reforms to transform teaching and learning and improve educational outcomes. The end goals of these reforms are “to deliver quality education service at all levels that will equip learners in educational institutions with the skills, competencies and awareness that would make them functional citizens who can contribute to the attainment of the national development goals”.


Given the above, the review of the curriculum and the setting of teacher standards in Teacher Training Institutions were completed and the document on Transforming Teacher Education and Learning (T-TEL) was approved by Cabinet.


In 2018, the Ministry continued with the Teacher Training Reforms leading to the upgrade of all public Colleges of Education into campuses of existing public Universities to make them degree awarding institutions (stated in the Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government of Ghana for the 2018 Financial Year).


This resulted in the development and subsequent design of a new four-year Bachelor of Education Curriculum for the training of teachers for the basic school system through a national stakeholder engagement process with Universities, Colleges of Education, Teacher Regulatory Institutions, national curriculum experts, NGOs, and CSOs.


Unfortunately, the Diploma in Basic Education Certificate holders from the Colleges of Education has been left out of the reforms. This has created a gap in aligning the envisaged pre-service teacher education curriculum with the ongoing reform of the Pre-Tertiary Education Curriculum to improve the quality of teaching and learning and improve learning outcomes.


Story by: Joshua Kwabena Smith

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