An education policy analyst at the Institute for Education Studies (IFEST), Peter Anti, wants the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) to take a second look at some of its 2020 manifesto promises on education.
NDC’s 2020 manifesto – Education
According to Mr. Anti, some three proposals in NDC’s policy document present a major source of concern. They include the proposal to scrap the double-track system, cancel the teacher licensure exams, and its intention to rope in the private sector into the free Senior High School (SHS) policy.
Mr. Anti, who is the Acting Executive Director of IFEST, said while the concerns about the three proposals by the NDC do not suggest that they are inferior, the opposition party in the coming days must explain the details of these proposals.
Commenting on the NDC’s proposal to rope in private schools into the free SHS programme, Mr. Anti notes that that will be difficult because private schools in Ghana do not charge the same fees.
“So how much are you going to give to each of the private schools? For the public schools we know that each student is paying between 200 and 500…it is uniform across the length and breadth of the country. For the private schools, every school has fees that it charges, so if you are saying that you are going to ask all these different private schools to join the free SHS policy then you have to come and tell us how you are going to do that,” he said.
Mr. Peter Anti spoke to GhanaWeb on Tuesday, September 8, 2020, on the NDC’s People’s Manifesto, which was launched on Monday, September 7, 2020.
According to him, another major source of concern is the NDC’s intention to scrap the Teacher Licensure Examinations.
The governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) through the National Teaching Council introduced the Ghana Teacher Licensure Examinations to enable qualified teachers to acquire a professional license and also prepare teachers to meet the demands of the National Teachers’ Standards of possessing the minimum knowledge, skills, values, and attitudes necessary to deliver effectively in schools.
The NDC in its manifesto has said it will scrap the system, insisting it serves no good purpose.
However, Mr. Anti told GhanaWeb that, teaching, like every profession, has its rules and regulations.
“The licensure exam is more of a professional exam for teachers. We have to understand that if you want to enter a profession, there are rules and regulations… We don’t get up and say that ‘I am going to be this or I am going to be that’. If you look at the nursing profession, if you look at the profession of a medical doctor, they all write professional exams before they are finally certified. And it is not peculiar to Ghana alone other countries are doing it,” he stressed.
He said if Ghana wants to control the calibre of people who enter the profession, then the teacher licensure exams is a good initiative that must stay.
“Although there were challenges initially, it [teacher licensure exams] has come to stay. People have come to accept it. One day, it will be clear that when we are talking about demand and supply we will see that people with certificates will be selected and have higher remuneration than those who don’t have,” he said.
The IFEST Acting Executive Director also kicked against the NDC’s plan to scrap the double track system introduced to control the number of students under the free SHS programme.
According to him, while the NDC’s promise to complete E-blocks abandoned will facilitate the abolishment of the double track, the party, if it wins on December 7, 2020, will not be able to complete these school buildings within a year of coming to the office.
“It is not an immediate policy. So if you win power and you scrap the double track, it means you are going to be denying people. So they should just have a second look at that particular position,” he told GhanaWeb.
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