The National Teaching Council (NTC) has said teacher trainees have a choice to either participate in government’s programme to license teachers in the country or exempt themselves.

Executive Secretary of the Council, Dr. Evelyn Oduro denied claims that government is rushing the implementation of the policy. On the contrary, she said teachers have been given ample time to prepare for the licensing regime.

According to her, the teachers have been dragging their feet for over ten years which has contributed to the slow pace of implementation of the policy.

She said the country has the lowest charge rate [¢450] for a license as compared to other countries like Nigeria and Zambia where they also renew it on a yearly basis.

“How do you want to carry on with our work when you keep dragging your feet?” she quizzed,

"We want to reform teaching to ensure they sharpen their we intend to give them time to build their portfolio and attend professional development courses," she added. 

Her comment follows the decision by trainee teachers in Kumasi in the Ashanti region to embark on a demonstration on Tuesday in protest of attempts by government to compel teachers to secure licenses to teach.

Government says the new licensing regime will improve professionalism in teaching but both the National Association of Graduate Teachers and the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) have raised concerns.

The latest group to join in the protest is trainee teachers who allege, the exam is a strategy by government to cut down on the employment of teachers.

A spokesperson for the Friends of Colleges of Education in the Ashanti Region, Eric Tetteh told Joy News the move is an arbitrary use of power.

“Our leaders must not feel shy to sit down and talk with us. They should review the document they gave to us…we won’t beg them for a job if this means they will exclude us so be it,” he said.

He charged government to provide logistical and infrastructural support and teachers will deliver in the country.

Vice President of NAGRAT Jacob Anaba says government has yet to clarify concerns raised over the cost of securing and renewing the licenses which are to be awarded by the National Teaching Council.

He said they have raised concerns about the policy including renewal fees of the license and when it should be renewed as well as revocation and how to get it back.

“Those leaving colleges and the universities are to write exams to get the license but those who are already in the system we are yet to know the laid down procedure to obtain one,” he said.

Also, the Deputy General Secretary of GNAT, Gifty Anyogbe Apanbil said the licensure exams does not only lack legislative backing but is being organized in a rush.

“There are a lot of issues that the unions have raised which have not been addressed…also, the people who are going to write the exam are anxious because they have no idea about the nature of the exam they are going to write.

“There should be sample questions on the NTC website for them to access and guide them in their studies. Also, with university graduates involved, those writing must have an idea of what they are writing about so as not to be stranded at exams centres,” she added.

But Dr Oduro said the teachers have been given areas to study because the exam was set in consultation with their leadership.