With ongoing consultations of relevant stakeholders such as Principals of Colleges of Education, Teacher Trainees Association of Ghana and Ministry of Education, the National Teaching Council (NTC) is likely to introduce an entrance examination from August 2022 as a prerequisite for admission into Colleges of Education. This, according to the registrar of the NTC, Dr. Christian Adai Poku would assess the students in numeracy and literacy and serve as the basis for admission.
This initiative sounds good at a glance especially as the nation desires the production of global standards, quality teachers who would spearhead educational delivery and push the wheels of Ghanaian education to its desired destination.
In my estimation as a teacher with over a score of work experience, I posit that this policy should be re-looked at and possibly withdrawn for the direct entry system.
Why The Entrance Examinations Should Be Rejected
The claim by the NTC that the introduction of the Ghana Basic Education Skills Examinations Test (GBEST) is a panacea for the admission and training of quality teachers is questionable. The entrance examinations would not yield the desired outcomes just as the licensure examinations. There are still a good number of teachers who have sailed through the licensure examinations devastating shortfalls in pedagogy, numeracy and literacy. It remains a mystery how such teachers passed and the same mysterious way can make a numeracy and literacy deficient student pass the GBEST and gain admission.
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The introduction of the GBEST entrance examinations would be a confirmation of a systemic failure in our secondary education system including the assessment of learning after secondary education. If students who have passed their WASSCE and have gained admission into the Colleges of Education can still not be trusted for their performance but rather need to be reassessed with entrance examinations, it would be an indictment on the Ghana Education Service, WAEC and the students themselves.
Again the NTC has acknowledged that the licensure examinations (Numeracy and Literacy) only favoured Mathematics and English language, biased students, handicapping students who specialized in other subjects. The NTC is therefore proposing Pedagogical Skills and subject area tests as replacements for Literacy and Numeracy. Per the above, wouldn’t entrance examinations that seek to test students on the same Literacy and Numeracy also favour some students who specialized in some programmes at the SHS level? Doesn’t the gander also deserve what is good for the goose?
I foresee the happenings at the Ghana School of Law gradually creeping into teacher education. Like legal education in Ghana, we are gradually getting to a situation where a large number of prospective teachers would be denied admission under the guise of entrance examination. This is enough grounds to foil the introduction of entrance examinations as a basis for admission into the Colleges of Education.
In conclusion, I strongly opine that the introduction of entrance examinations into the Colleges of Education would not be necessary because if students who trail four or more courses in a semester are withdrawn, licensure (exit) examinations are written and still cannot produce quality teachers, then we need to look elsewhere.