The success of an education system is predicated on the quality of teachers. That is determined by the level of training, which comprises depth of knowledge in subject areas and competencies in teaching methodologies.
In turn, teachers’ performance is reinforced by workplace factors such as teaching load, resources and remuneration. To enhance it, constant refresher training is paramount to keep them abreast of emerging teaching methodologies, new knowledge and technological advancements.
Given this context, the “Sessional Paper No. 1 of 2005” on education, training and research spelt out a framework for revising, revamping and enhancing teacher education programmes.
Key highlights included the recommendation to enhance primary school teacher training to diploma level and introduce specialisation for trainees to master their chosen subjects. This was a departure from the two-year training and broad-based curriculum involving more than 10 subjects.
The government is now upgrading primary teacher training programmes to diploma level. New trainees joining teacher training colleges from next month will go through a three-year diploma course.
Secondly, last week, Teachers Service Commission (TSC) signed a MoU with four institutions to provide continuous professional training to teachers. The Teacher Professional Development (TPD) programme is intended to provide a constant skills upgrade for teachers.
It’s not lost on anyone, though, that the programme has elicited diverse reactions with some arguing that it’s costly and others questioning the rationale of enlisting private universities to offer the training.
The developments come at a time when the government is implementing the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC), hence necessitating the urgency.
However, with or without CBC, enhanced teacher training and capacity building is paramount. It is, therefore, incumbent on the government to expedite the planned training so that it can ultimately recruit qualified teachers to enhance CBC implementation.