Claim: Social media users claim that trainee teachers being examined before they are licensed as professionals started during John Mahama’s administration.
Verdict: This allegation is false. The first announcement of trainee teachers sitting for a licensure exam was made in 2017 and was implemented a year later.
A promise by the flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress, John Mahama, to cancel teacher licensure examinations if elected in the 2024 presidential elections has sparked conversations online.
Speaking at Wenchi in the Bono Region as part of his Building Ghana Tour, Mr Mahama promised to cancel the licensure exams, arguing that they were unnecessary.
“We will abolish the obnoxious licensure exams for teacher trainees and restore the automatic employment of teacher trainee graduates. Let me state unequivocally that no teacher trainee graduate will be denied posting or employment under the next Mahama government,” he said in the Akan language.
Since making the promise, some social media users posted that the licensure examination for teacher trainees was first implemented during his tenure.
They are backing the claim with a Sept. 2016 publication by Graphic Online with the headline “New teacher licensing starts from 2016/17 academic year.”
Others are also making reference to paragraph 635 of the 2016 budget, which mentioned the piloting of a “scheme for the registration and licensing of teachers in Shai Osudoku, Upper Manya Krobo, Ajumako-EnyanEssiam, Kassena-Nankana East and Savelugu-Nanton districts in accordance with the new Teachers’ Licensing Policy under Act 778.”
How is the proposed licensure programme 2016 different from the current practice of trainee teachers writing a licensure examination?
When did the era of teacher licensure examinations start?
Our first approach was to analyse the Sept. 2016 publication from Graphic Online.
There was no indication in the said publication that trainee teachers would be subjected to an examination before being licensed to teach.
“Beginning from the 2016/17 academic year, all newly recruited teachers will have to be licensed before being allowed to teach. Those already in the teaching service who are professional teachers will be streamlined. In contrast, those who are not professional teachers will be given temporary licenses for three years,” part of the publication reads.
The publication further indicated that teachers would go through professional development programmes and appraisals to get their licenses renewed.
“The acting Chief Inspector of the National Inspectorate Board (NIB), Dr Augustine Tawiah, said teachers would be required to renew their licenses yearly, just like how we renew other licenses, adding that in the case of teachers, they would go through professional development programmes and appraisals to get their licenses renewed,” the Graphic Online publication continued.
To settle the debate on when the licensure examination commenced, we found a 2018 publication by Graphic Online with the headline “First teacher licensure exams in Sept.” This publication announced the commencement of the writing of the teacher licensure examinations.
“It is now official that the first-ever teacher licensure examination will take place in the colleges of education throughout the country from Sept. 10 to 12, 2018,” the publication reads.
A 2020 video report from Accra-based Citi TV also made reference to licensure exams being debuted in 2018.
Before this, we came across several media publications in 2017 reporting the government’s decision to introduce a teacher licensure examination and subsequent opposition to the idea by some teacher unions.
Providing a historical, legal background and context to the licensure exams, DUBAWA spoke to the Executive Director at the Institute for Education Studies (IFEST), Mr Peter Partey-Anti, and acquired a report on the Ghana Teacher Licensure Exams.
The report states in part that “The National Teaching Council of the Ministry of Education on Aug. 4, 2014, first announced plans to have teachers in Ghana licensed before being able to teach, beginning 2015.”
The announcement was in furtherance to the Education Act 2008 (Act 778), which makes
provision for implementing the Teacher Licensure in Ghana. According to section 12 of the Act, the National Teaching Council (NTC) is to register teachers after they have satisfied the conditions for initial licensing and issue the appropriate license.
The report further quoted the Executive Director Augustine Tawiah as saying, “teachers
would be issued a 14-digit identity card to be renewed regularly” as part of the licensing regime.
However, the examination was, at the time, not the considered mode or process through which teachers would be licensed. Instead, Mr Partey-Anti confirmed that other forms of licensing regime were piloted in early 2016 by the erstwhile NDC regime under ex-president John Mahama.
It was not until May 2018 that the NTC announced for the benefit of the trainees who were to graduate in the 2017/2018 academic year that they could not be qualified as teachers without the Licensure exams.
“Consequently, July 25th 2018, was slated for the trainees to write the licensure examination with the trainees paying an amount of 220 Ghana cedis ($41) for it,” which triggered stiff opposition from the various teacher Unions.
GNAT and NAGRAT demanded the suspension of the proposed licensing examination for teachers until stakeholder consultations with the Education Minister were completed.
“On Sept. 7, 2018, three days before the examinations, the three teacher unions in the country, the Ghana National Association of Teachers, National Association of Graduate Teachers and the Concerned Teachers Association, agreed for the licensure examination to proceed as scheduled after a meeting with the Minister of Education in Accra,” the report indicated.
Claims that the John Mahama administration oversaw the commencement of the trainee teachers’ licensure examination are false. The decision to organise licensure examinations was first announced in 2017. The first licensure exam took place in 2018.