The Chairman of the Conference of Principals of Colleges of Education, Mr Alfred Ndago, has appealed to the government to expedite the passage of the Colleges of Education Bill into law.
He said the passage of the bill into law would give a clear direction to the management of the various teacher training colleges in the country.
“The transition of colleges of education to the tertiary sector can be described as frustrating, uncertain and disconnect between what we know about tertiary status and the realities on the ground. Stakeholders have failed to keep deadlines of the roadmap and played politics around the issues”, he said.
Mr Ndago, who is also the Principal of the St John Bosco’s College of Education, made the appeal at the second congregation of the college at Navrongo and said the bill of the colleges of education was expected to be passed before the end of 2011 but three weeks to the end of the year, nothing concrete was said or done about it.
“Instead, feverish preparations are being made to fast track the passage of the Bill establishing the two new universities in the Brong Ahafo and Volta Region. Meanwhile, lecturers in the colleges of education have been debarred from the best teacher awards for the past two years, they have suffered promotion discrimination, low salaries and have their backs being broken from extra duty activities,” he said.
He said the five semester programme for the colleges designed and approved for implementation to ensure that trainees content knowledge base was strengthened had remained on the shelves for the past two years because the government had not been able to find the needed funds to quickly provide the infrastructural needs of each college to accommodate level 300 trainees in the fifth semester.
“What should engage government is to reposition the colleges of education to serve as efficient, effective and progressive centres of teaching and learning. Real education change will not come about by doing more of the same things that have been tried before in the form of refining what already exists but ensuring qualitative difference in how we think about what we do”, he said.
He said 500 graduates made up of those who completed in 2009/10 and 2010 /11 academic year had satisfied all the requirements for the award of diploma in Basic Education with nine and 21 students obtaining second class upper respectively.
He said results of the final year trainees had improved since 2007 when the college became a tertiary institution, stressing that, for instance, in 2007, only one candidate had a second class upper, which rose to four in 2009, nine in 2010 and 21 in 2011.
The Chairman of the Governing Council of the College, Most Reverend Alfred Agenta, bemoaned the recent poor performances of BECE students in the region and challenged the newly qualified teachers to help provide quality education for the disadvantaged in the deprived areas of the country.
“You are to illuminate our villages, communities and the nation at large with the light, that is the knowledge and wisdom that you have acquired from the institution. Always remember that as an education professional, you are to fire the imagination of your students and those you come into contact with”, said the Most Rev. Agenta who is also the Bishop of the Navrongo-Bolgatanga Diocese of the Catholic Church.
The Executive Secretary of the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE), Professor Mahama Duwiejuah, gave the assurance he would ensure that the necessary attention was given to the Bill in order for it to be passed into law adding that in the meantime, all the issues of salaries of tutors of colleges of education, as well as allowances of students had been transferred to the NCTE, while various committees had been put in place to ensure effective transition of the colleges onto fully-fledged tertiary institutions.
Prof. Duwiejuah said the teachers had chosen the right profession and it was up to them to prove their worth. He also underscored the need for discipline in all spheres of life by the trainees as they embarked on their professional carrier as teachers.