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Two Thousand Teachers Needed in Northern Region Basic Schools

2006-05-05 17:08:05
This article has been read 1541 times.

The Northern Region needs about 2,100 teachers to fill the vacancies created in basic schools in rural communities alone but the Government's efforts to train untrained teachers for the Diploma in Basic Education (UTTDBE) is also failing in the region.

Of the total 5,037 untrained teachers enrolled for the Untrained Teacher Training Diploma in Basic Education (UTTDBE) Programme from the seven Teacher Training Colleges in the three Northern Regions, 961 of the trainees had withdrawn due to their inability to meet the cost. These issues came to light at the end of a two-day Northern Sector Education Forum organised in Tamale on Thursday by the Northern Network for Education Development (NNED), a nongovernmental organisation.

The forum, which was part of activities to mark this year's "Global Action Week on Education", dubbed: "The Big Hearing," brought together Directors of Education, civil society organisations, Principals of Training Colleges from the three Northern Regions to deliberate on how best to help to change the educational trend in the three Regions. Mr. S.R.A. Kudamo, an Assistant Director of Education at the Northern Regional Directorate of Education; said some 2,565 vacancies for teachers in basic schools in the Region were available but only 583 teachers had been turned out from the training colleges. Mr Kudamo said this number of trained teachers for the Region was woefully inadequate considering that more than 100 teachers were due for pension this year while more than 200 would also be attending further studies.

Mr Kudamo said due to the capitation grant many children were now enrolled in the basic schools and stressed the need for more teachers to be trained to fill the vacancies.

Alhaji Adam Zakaria, Principal of Bagabaga Training College in Tamale, who delivered a paper on the UTTDBE Programme, expressed concern about the rate of dropouts and appealed to the Government to help to address the situation.

He said most of the dropouts could not afford the about 2,558,000 cedis fees per year for the four-year period as some of them received salaries below 200,000 cedis a month.

Prof. R. B. Bening, a former Vice-Chancellor for the University for Development Studies, said the UTTDBE programme would fail if the Government and other stakeholders in education did not pay more attention to the upkeep of the trainees.

He said it was wrong to recruit Middle School Leaving Certificate (MSLC) holders alongside holders of Senior Secondary School Certificate Ordinary and Advanced Levels to study on the same programme.

Prof Bening, who moderated the two-day forum, appealed to the government and other stakeholders in education to be more pragmatic in their approach towards improving education in the country by handling the UTTDBE programme well.

The participants called on the Government to absorb all examination and module costs of the UTTDBE to sustain the programme. They emphasised the need to improve the existing Teacher Training Colleges and establish more to train enough teachers to meet the demand. Mrs Angelina Baiden-Amissah, a Deputy Minister of Education and Sports, said the Government was still committed to offering Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education (FCUBE) to every child of school-going age and would, therefore, address all educational concerns.

Mr Eric Duorinaar, Coordinator of NNED, appealed to policy-makers to take pragmatic measures to address the inadequate teacher availability in the country, particularly in the three Northern Regions. He said there was the need for the government to offer more incentive packages to volunteer and untrained teachers for them to stay and give of their best to help to raise the fallen standards of education in the country.


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