Scrap boarding system in Colleges of Education

Professor Damian Kofi Mereku, former
Dean of Science Education, at the University of Education,
Winneba, has advised government to scrap the boarding
system in Colleges of Education, and select some for
development into Teacher Universities, instead or establishing
10 new such Colleges.

“One key option open to the government for meeting the
increasing demand for teachers in the face of current
economic difficulties… is to consider de-boardinising Colleges
of Education.”
Prof Mereku made the suggestion at the Sixth Congregation
and 60th Anniversary launch of the Peki College of Education,
under the theme: “Sixty Years of Teacher Education:
Successes, Challenges and the Way Forward.”

Prof Mereku asserted that scrapping the boarding system in
the Colleges of Education could result in the expansion of their
capacities “to double or triple their intake of pre-service
teachers in the next 10 years.’

He said the boarding system in the Colleges detracts from
their statuses as tertiary institutions, and places their students
below other tertiary students, and stifles their abilities to
“develop into more responsible adults who will take charge of
their own lives and that of the children they will be teaching.”

Prof Mereku asked Colleges of Education to review their
programmes and study modules to reflect emerging concerns
of education, emphasising the process of learning that will
enable the development of globally accepted core
competencies, such as literacy, numeracy, creativity and
innovation.
He called for “special incentives” in addition to the students’
loan scheme, “to attract the top candidates to the Colleges of
Education.”

Prof Mereku observed that teacher education had gone
through transformation and innovation since the “seminary”
approach of the pre-independence period.
Quoting from a recent study by Akyeampong, Pryor and
Westbrook 2013, on “improving teaching and learning of basic
mathematics and reading in Africa”, Prof Mereku said “though
initial teacher education programmes had impact on newly
qualified teachers, they induced misplaced confidence leading
to standardized teacher-led approaches that failed to engage
learners.”

He pointed out that curricula of the Colleges lacked flexibility
to incorporate changes in the basic school curriculum, as well
as innovations recommended by the Ghana Education Service.
Prof Mereku said such innovations came rather late to the
institutions so that they became obsolete by the time they
were adopted.

Mr Tawiah Akyea, Chairman of the Peki College Council, asked
the students to cast off the cloak of pre-tertiary students, and
put on the garment of tertiary students.
“We are a university and social life in College should change,’
he admonished.
He said their discipline and knowledge should make them out
as scholars.
“You ought to be curious to be a good scholar in order to be
respected,” Mr Akyea said.

He said no matter their individual reasons for entering the
College, their training has qualified them as teachers
everywhere, not just in the classroom, and their approach to
work must therefore be knowledge and character-based.

Mr J.M.K Baako, Principal of the College, enumerated a
number of challenges, including bad roads, limited space,
inadequate funds for in-service training, and uncompleted
building projects.

He said the College has attained a student-population of 1,000
students ahead of its 2015 dateline.
Mr Baako said an Information Communication Technology
(ICT) project has been completed, so also were some
renovation works funded by the Getfund and a four-storey
female hostel.

He advised the teacher-graduates to accept postings to
deprived communities, and strive to make positive landmarks
in improving the academic standards wherever they might be
posted to.

They should also forge positive relationships with stakeholders
where they might find themselves, and behave responsibly,
and be good ambassadors of the College.
GNA

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