A former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Education, Winneba (UEW), Professor Jophus Anamuah-Mensah, has said the high number of students enrolled in the colleges of education creates overcrowding and does not allow for efficient and effective teacher preparation.
“This increasing of enrolment in the colleges is a self-inflicted tragedy which needs to be avoided,” he said.
Professor Anamuah-Mensah, who is also the Chairman of the Board and Advisor of Transforming Teaching, Education and Learning (T-TEL) in Ghana, stated this when he delivered the keynote address at the opening of the maiden National Dialogue on Initial Teacher Education in Accra.
He said there was the need to determine the capacity of the students before they are admitted and that if a college could admit 200/300, then they should be provided with that number.
The two-day event, which is on the theme: “Four years into the transformation of colleges of education into degree awarding institutions — Realities and the way forward”, was organised by the Colleges of Education Weekly Journal (CoEWJ).
The event was attended by heads of colleges of education, representatives of mentoring institutions, advocacy groups, as well as other stakeholders in the sector, among others.
Professor Anamuah-Mensah indicated that teacher education required practical activity and added that the increasing enrolment also affected organising an efficient and “supported teaching in schools” programme with its associated issues of placement, bussing and mentorship.
According to him, the colleges of education had continued to exert themselves using their outdated infrastructure and limited resources to prepare teachers that were needed tomorrow.
In addition, the former vice-chancellor noted that the colleges were faced with admitting students with deficiencies in literacy and numeracy and that, “there is also the undisclosed issue of no repetition for students, thus failing students are made to proceed to the next level”.
Despite those issues, he said the affiliation with the universities seemed to support the growth of both administrative and academic personnel in the colleges through workshops, seminars and meetings.
The Executive Director of T-TEL, Robin Todd, said despite all the issues affecting colleges of education, there had been a transformation in the quality of teacher education in the country over the past five years.
A former Minister of State for Tertiary Education, Elizabeth Ohene, who chaired the event, said teachers were important to life, especially when one has both parents as teachers.
In doing anything, she said, unless there were teachers at the base supporting it, none of it would work.
In an address read on his behalf, the Registrar of the National Teaching Council, Dr Christian Addai-Poku, said the council had successfully conducted the teacher licensure examination for about five years now and continued to conduct one of the most robust and transparent examinations in the country.
The Editor-in-chief of CoEWJ, Larry K. Agbador, said, among other things, that the dialogue was to explore the realities and the way forward in the implementation of the four-year Bachelor of Education programme in the colleges of education.