According to a study, trained teachers who attended colleges of education fared better in the current Ghana Teacher Licensure Examination (GTLE) than those who attended universities.
Six researchers from the University of Education, Winneba (UEW) conducted a study from 2021 to 2022 that found that students from colleges passed with a pass rate of 79% while students from universities failed with a pass rate of 61%.
Almost 3,000 participants in the study, which took place from August 2021 to February 2022, had written the GTLE between 2018 and 2021.
Dr. Richardson Addai-Mununkum, Senior Professor in Curriculum and Pedagogy at the UEW, told Emmanuel Bonney of the Daily Graphic that the findings were intriguing after presenting the research paper on An Assessment of the GTLE in Accra on Thursday.
According to him, the study’s objectives were to assess the GTLE against its initial goals, uncover new problems, and offer suggestions for solutions.
Examination for Teacher Licensure in Ghana
The Education Act of 2008, Act 778, supported the government’s introduction of the GTLE in 2019, and the first teacher licensure test was held in September 2018.
As a crucial policy to raise the professional standing and position of teachers in the nation, an examination is being held to licence and certify all professional teachers in Ghana.
The National Teaching Council (NTC), which organises and oversees the licence examination, also aims to develop teachers’ knowledge in their field of instruction and prepare them for positions outside of the country.
It applies to both newly hired instructors and teachers who are currently working and need a licence in order to properly practise their profession.
Those who pass the test in all three categories—essential professional skills (EPSs), literacy, and numeracy—are eligible for employment with the Ghana Education Service (GES) and posting.
As far as social positioning goes, Dr. Addai-Mununkum remarked that the results were intriguing since “we assume that the universities are higher and therefore we expect their applicants for the GTLE to do better.”
“It is therefore intriguing that colleges are really performing better for licensure. We discovered that the colleges prepared students effectively for the National Teachers Standards (NTS), whereas many university programmes placed a heavy emphasis on the subject matter,” he said.
Also, 53% of those who took the test but failed believed it was a beneficial workout, he added. He continued by saying that while all three sections of the GTLE—EPSs, Literacy, and Numeracy—had to be passed before receiving a licence, almost a quarter of the respondents expressed scepticism regarding the numeracy component. He noted that, for example, if someone was studying geography, they took many more courses in those subject and fewer courses in education, so by the time they “go out, they are not as competent in terms of professional knowledge and skills as it is with those who go to the colleges,” explaining that the average GTLE pass rate was around 76%.
While Dr. Addai-Mununkum reported that respondents had no problems writing the EPSs or the examination’s literacy and numeracy sections, the majority of them expressed hesitations.
He stated that the reason for this was because they attended colleges or universities to specialise, such as in English literature, and that was what they intended to teach, questioning “Why are you going to test me on numeracy?”
“Furthermore, if someone read Ga and became an expert in that field, he or she may wonder why they need numeracy to teach Ga when they move out into the world. They were quite hesitant about doing that, he added.
According to the researchers’ recommendations, colleges must reevaluate their curricula in light of the NTS and make sure that their graduates are capable of enhancing their performance. The recommendation is for universities to start reexamining their curricula in light of the NTS. The colleges adopted the standards when they were introduced; they revised their curricula and are now using them. Universities still need to update their curricula to reflect the NTS. The difference is therefore coming from there, Dr. Addai-Mununkum emphasised.
The report further advised that the institutions review their programmes for teacher training, determine whether they were in line with the NTS, and make the necessary adjustments for their students’ final products and graduates.
Although the processes and procedures for the GTLE’s administration were appropriate, there were some difficulties with registration and test administration, according to Dr. Addai-Mununkum. He suggested that the NTC expand test-takers’ options for GTLE writing locations and enhance the orientation and training of supervisors and invigilators. Stakeholders have a favourable opinion of the GTLE, he claimed.
“The NTC should launch awareness-raising and public relations initiatives on the GTLE, though, considering some of the misconceptions that have been stated. Stakeholder forums and a documentary that might be shown on national television for a while might be a part of such initiatives, the speaker stated.
Necessity for assessment
According to Dr. Christian Addai-Poku, Registrar of the NTC, the research’s main finding was that, following the introduction of the examination, it was essential to assess the entire intervention because there had been conflicting views on whether it was the right thing to do, when it should be implemented, and whether it was meeting expectations.
In order to influence policy adjustments, he explained, “there was a need to undertake this research to evaluate it to know our strengths and flaws.”
Despite there having been seven examination iterations, according to him, only four were used for the study.
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