Education minister reveals plans to cancel teachers’ licensure exams and national service

Dr. Matthew Opoku-Prempeh, Education Minister Dr. Matthew Opoku-Prempeh, Education Minister

The Minister of Education, has disclosed plans by the Akufo-Addo government to cancel the Compulsory Teachers Licensure Examination, as well as National Service for teachers, exactly nine months after Former President John Mahama, indicated he would abolish the exams, if he is elected President in the 2020 polls.

Dr. Matthew Opoku-Prempeh alias "NAPO", had explained that the cancelation is because people were criticizing the government over the policy.

The minister said this, in an interview with Kwaku Annan on Net 2 TV The Seat Programme.

The Member of Parliament (MP) from Manhyia South Constituency in the Ashanti Region, who was on the show on Monday, September 21, 2020, was quoted by, as saying "Automatic Posting of Teachers without Licensure Exam and National Service Will be reversed".

According to him, the Akufo-Addo's government has done well with the implementation of the Free Senior High School (SHS) Education, although opponents had insisted it would not be possible.

Dr. Opoku-Prempeh, said former President John Mahama and the NDC, who criticized the Free SHS are now short of words to describe its benefit.

Former President John Mahama, in December last year, indicated that his government would abolish the licensure examination for teachers, if he is elected as President in the 2020 polls.

"I will cancel licensure exams for teachers," he said, explaining that what was needed was an improvement in the quality of teaching and examinations at the Colleges of Education.

But Mr Mahama got a quick reply from the Deputy General Secretary of the Ghana National Association of Teachers, Daniel Affadu, saying the teachers needed this accreditation to differentiate themselves from "fake" teachers that have flooded the system.

"We feel that in Ghana we only hear of fake lawyers being arrested, have you ever heard of a fake teacher? No. But sometimes these SHS graduates, who go and teach people even in their homes, when they defile a student people say a 'teacher has defiled the child'.

"So we want these benchmarks to be dealt with especially even in the private schools so that the teacher will have some importance," he said at the last edition of Newsfile on JoyNews on 28th December 2019.

His comments came after former President John Dramani Mahama in his Facebook Live interaction said his government, if elected into power, will do away with the licensure examinations.

Mr Affadu, said that canceling the licensure exams will not be necessary, but teachers would appreciate it if they were made to write it for free, instead of bearing the cost.

"Already there are discussions ongoing about the fees that have to be charged. If it becomes free that will be very fine," he added.

Former Deputy Education Minister and North Tongu MP, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, said licensing teachers to give them that professional credibility, has nothing to do with examinations.

He explained that the NDC, had piloted the licensure to look strictly at the practical aspect of teaching, instead of one's ability to pass an exam.

"After a two-year program, you're accessed based on the field after that you receive your license, that was our program, which I had thought would be continued."

In a Facebook Live interaction on Monday, December 24, 2019, Mr Mahama, said Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) will be free at every level for Ghanaians.

He said an NDC government under his leadership would rescale the skills training under TVET so that beneficiaries could create their own jobs to employ others.

Reiterating his position to review the Free SHS policy, Mr Mahama, explained that the review he had been talking about meant improving the current system, but not to abolish it.

He said an NDC government would abolish the double-track system and help increase the contact hours between students and teachers by fast-tracking the completion of all abandoned educational structures so that the students can be spread out.

Mr Mahama, said although the free SHS policy was good, its implementation was bad, citing for instance that although it was supposed to be free, parents were engaging private teachers for their wards at extra cost.

"Do not forget that it was under the NDC regime that the shift system was abolished. The party has a track record of doing things that others have not been able to do," he stated.

He said instead of helping to improve contact hours between students and teachers, the government had purchased past questions to help students revise and prepare for their examinations.

He wondered what the students would be revising, if they had not already been taught.

Source: The Herald