Gov’t To Introduce New Courses For Trainee Teachers

Government is to review the curricula for the country’s trainee teachers to include technical and vocational subjects at the various Colleges of Education, minister -designate for Education, Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh has said.

Though trainee teachers are not taught technical and vocational skills as part of their training, they are made to handle the two subjects at their various basic schools upon graduation.

At his vetting in Accra Tuesday, Dr Opoku Prempeh, described the situation as “frightening” and said once his nomination is approved, he would initiate steps in the first year to address the gap.

“I realized that though Colleges of Education teaches or train teachers in technical and vocational education or even ICT, they don’t have it as a course in any of our Colleges of Education which is frightening to me that the teachers who are going to teach the basics [and] JHS and things don’t even study or are not teachers in that thing (subjects),” he said at his vetting.

In the interim, he has underscored the need to have an arrangement with the University of Cape Coast or University of Education to certify technical institutes in that country “so that they can start even teaching at the primary level”.

Making reference to the manifesto of the New Patriotic Party, he said the government intends to dedicate or select at least two Colleges of Education in the country and upgrade the laboratories and workshops so that teachers of technical and vocational education can get the necessary skills.

There are currently 40 Colleges of Education in the country, which he said plans are in place to increase the number to 48, noting the introduction of the new courses will be “as soon as practical”.

When approved, he said the first thing he would do is to “meet the Colleges of Education using the National Curriculum Authority, National Accreditation Board and all those regulatory power that we have to redirect focus or even select schools that can help train the teachers in Technical and vocational skills.”

Meanwhile, said he would ensure that all polytechnics that have not yet been upgraded to technical university status would be pursued , saying his administration would “…ensure that all the polytechnics are upgraded to technical universities, not only on paper.

“I have sighted arrangements that are far advanced for a support from China to equip five technical universities and all the  10 technical institutes,” he noted, adding that they would seek support from countries that are vexed in technical and vocational development

In a related development, Mr Opoku Prempeh told the Appointment Committee of Parliament that plans are on course to bring all technical and vocational institutions scattered under the various government ministries under the Ministry of Education to ensure they are well resourced.

He said a document from the Council of Tertiary Vocational Education and Training showed that across the government sector “almost every ministry has something to  do with vocational, technical education.

“I came to meet a recommendation in a cabinet memo that they intend to centralize all those vocational and technical (schools) that have scattered across ministries under the Ministry of Education to give targeted support to those institutions,” he said.

He argued  the current situation made those institutions more “like an orphan; nobody looks after, resources are not available to look after. So that’s the first thing to get that cabinet memo through.

“We have to look at it [the memo], re-examine the memo if there are omissions, do add [and] if there are deletions we have to make” and submit same to the current cabinet, he told the Appointments Committee.

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