Careful with junior secondary school teachers

With the introduction of the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC), teachers will continually be required to acquire better qualifications and higher skills. To achieve that, trainee teachers and those in service must invest more in their training and education and also expect to be commensurately rewarded.

Teachers Service Commission (TSC) has also announced that primary school teachers who have advanced their qualifications will be promoted and deployed to teach junior secondary school (JSS).

This is laudable as many of them have been agitating for promotion after investing time, money and effort in their education where some doctorate holders are still teaching in primary schools. From 2014, TSC stopped automatic promotions based on academic papers but rather on performance. Whereas it’s a modern-day practice, it can’t completely blank out the importance of in-service upskilling.

Stop-gap measure

The deployment of primary school teachers and interns to JSS is only a stop-gap measure which risks depleting primary schools of their teachers. Although TSC defends the internship programme, the teachers are grossly underpaid and many only take up the jobs with the hope that they might be hired on better terms in the future.

It is also noteworthy that the ongoing recruitment doesn’t factor in secondary schools despite their ever-increasing enrolment numbers and staffing gaps. Attention appears to be focused on the JSS at the expense of primary and secondary schools.

The understaffing in public schools despite thousands of teachers being jobless is shameful. TSC must come up with a strategy, backed by data, to deal with the problem that has snowballed into a crisis since the direct hiring of teachers from universities and colleges were stopped in 1998.

The Presidential Working Party on Education Reform also ought to come up with workable recommendations for reforming teacher education and training in all institutions of learning to align it with the national developmental goals.