National Democratic Congress (NDC) Communications Officer Sammy Gyamfi has vehemently defended former President John Mahama’s promise to eliminate the Teacher Licensure Exams (TLEs) if elected President in 2024, claiming that the tests are only a ruse by the current administration to stifle teacher recruitment.
Asserting that teacher candidates don’t need to take an additional exam to be qualified, Mahama pledged to do away with the Teacher Licensure Exams during his “Building Ghana Tour” in the Bono Region.
The Colleges of Education Teachers Association of Ghana (CETAG), which upholds the significance of the examinations, has criticized this position.
In response to these worries, Gyamfi emphasized that teacher candidates already go through demanding four-year Bachelor of Education programs that require eight months of intensive study and a minimum of fifty courses.
He wondered why there was still a need for another test with so much preparation.
Gyamfi criticized the Teacher Licensure Exams, calling them a “dubious ploy” used by the Akufo-Addo-Bawumia administration to reduce teacher hiring because of budgetary limitations.
According to him, a lot of competent teacher candidates don’t pass the tests, which leaves them unemployed and compels some of them to buy licenses.
Gyamfi underlined how opaque the Teacher Licensure Exam scoring system is, pointing out that pass scores are arbitrary and changed to fit the recruiting goals of the government. He went on to say that even individuals who ultimately pass the tests frequently experience difficulties in finding work.
Gyamfi reiterated the NDC’s intention to concentrate on enhancing pre-certification education standards and exams at Colleges of Education, reaffirming Mahama’s dedication to education.
He emphasized that this strategy will more effectively guarantee the caliber of next educators without needlessly raising obstacles to employment.
Below is the full statement by the Sammy Gyamfi
MAHAMA’S PROMISE TO ABOLISH OBNOXIOUS TEACHERS’ LICENSURE EXAMINATION IS SOUND AND SENSIBLE
H.E John Mahama and the NDC fully supports the Licensing and Registration of Teachers as required by sections 12 & 13 of the Education Act (ACT 778), 2008. What we are vehemently opposed to, is the use of a needless Licensure Exam as the basis or precondition for licensing teachers. It’s as simple as that.
Below are the reasons why the Teachers’ Licensure Exam is obnoxious, hence must be abolished:
1. Currently, Teacher Trainees undertake 4-year (Bachelors of Education) degree programs in various Colleges of Education. During the 4-year academic period, Teacher Trainees are taught and examined in not less than fifty (50) courses over eight (8) semesters, that is, two semesters per year.
2. It is worthy of note, that the curriculum for each semester includes a mandatory field practical course called Supported Teaching in Schools (STS). This practical academic activity is climaxed with a rigorous full semester mandatory internship course during the first semester of level 400. During this period, Teacher Trainees are assigned to the field to understudy mentors in classrooms and practically guided to teach. Trainees are required to prepare lesson notes, reflective journals among others, for assessment. After successfully passing eight (8) semester examinations involving not less than 30 courses, including the mandatory full-semester internship course, Teacher Trainees graduate from school and are issued with Bachelors of Education Degree certificates.
3. One would have thought, that the right thing for government to do after this, would have been to simply license and employ these teachers and pay them the appropriate salary as the practice had always been, before the current NPP government took office. Sadly, this is not the case now.
4. In a dubious ploy by the failed Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government to suppress teacher recruitment, they now require Teacher Trainee graduates who have successfully passed all their course exams in school including the mandatory field internship program, to undertake another examination called Licensure Examination before they are licensed to teach- an examination that has no active guide whatsoever.
5. To add insult to injury, Teacher Trainees are also forced to undertake a one-year compulsory National Service. This is despite the fact that their 4-year academic curriculum already involves intense teaching support services to the state.
6. Many Teacher Trainee graduates end up being failed after taking the obnoxious licensure exam without even knowing why they were failed. These qualified teachers are made to stay home without any job. Out of desperation, some are compelled to pay bribes to officials of the National Teaching Council in order to get a license. The marking scheme for the obnoxious licensure examination remains a mystery. The pass mark is whimsically and capriciously adjusted depending on the number of qualified teachers government intends to deny employment every year. Even worse is the fact that, some teachers who failed the obnoxious licensure exam on their first attempt but have eventually managed to pass the the exam have been denied posting and are siting home idle.
7. The reason for this injustice is simple; the failed Akufo-Addo government/Bawumia government simply does not have the financial capacity to employ all Teacher Trainee graduates, hence has devised a plan to use the obnoxious licensure exam to suppress the number of teachers they have to employ every year under the guise of licensing teachers. This elimination by rough tactic is simply unfair. This is why, the visionary Nation Builder, H.E John Dramani Mahama has promised to abolish it when elected in 2024.
8. For those who are concerned about quality assurance, it is worthy of note, that section 13 of the Education Act requires professional certification as the basis for licensing and registering Teachers. Thus, any policy or proposal intended to improve quality assurance must focus on improving pre-certification education standards and examination in Colleges of Education. This is precisely what John Mahama is talking about.
9. If government thinks that all the academic examinations and field works Teacher Trainees are taken through during their 4-year programs in school are not enough for quality assurance, then what government ought to do is to improve pre-certification teaching and examination standards in line with best practices. Once that is done, there will be no need for another exam to license teachers after they have successfully graduated.
10. Using myself as an example, the pre-certification course and exam in the law school where I attended is very rigorous and competitive. Once you pass it and successfully undertake the mandatory internship course, you are licensed and called to the Bar. You are not required to write another licensure exams before you are licensed as a lawyer. Neither are you required to undertake compulsory national service before you are licensed. You are only required to do pupillage after you are licensed as a lawyer. This practice is the same for doctors and other professional bodies.
11. For the avoidance of doubt, licensing is not the same as Licensure Examination. I am a licensed lawyer but I was not required to write any licensure exam before I was licensed as a lawyer. The NDC started piloting the licensing of teachers in the year 2016 without examination. We were ready to fully rollout the policy for the 2016/2017 academic year before we lost power. See https://www.graphic.com.gh/news/general-news/new-teacher-licensing-starts-from-2016-17-academic-year.html
12. The visionary Nation Builder has spoken in very clear terms on this matter. No attempt to spin to this well-thought out policy will wash. The obnoxious Teachers’ Licensure Exams and superfluous National Service will be canceled after John Mahama is sworn in as President on 7th January, 2025. “Insha Allah!” Teacher trainees deserve to be automatically licensed and employed after successfully completing their 4-year programs.
SAMMY GYAMFI ESQ.
National Communications Officer, NDC