GES Must Ensure Success Of Promotion Exams Regime

The teaching profession in Ghana has, through the years, gone through changes to get to the stage where it is now.

From the days of the Ghana Teaching Service through to the Ghana Education Service (GES), a lot of initiatives have been taken to ensure that the teacher’s best interest is served as far as the institution of welfare packages and conditions of service is concerned.

The Daily Graphic recalls the years when teachers’ conditions of service and salaries were not regulated until the Education Act of 1961 was promulgated to, among other things, ensure that salaries, terms of conditions and discipline were prescribed by regulation.

The teaching profession took a different shape then, as far as conditions of service were concerned.

We agree that as a country with very limited resources but many competing demands from the same kitty, society has not been able to satisfy all the demands and needs of teachers.

But we reason that some of the needs of teachers do not take much to be met.

One such is teachers’ complaint over the years about the mode of promotion, which for a long time had been by interviewing. Our teachers had argued that promotion through interviews had many inherent problems.

We note that interviewing can be very subjective, and a teacher who has one form of misunderstanding or another with a member of an interview panel could be victimised.

It is no secret that in some cases teachers had refused to attend interviews because of certain personalities on the panels.

It is also common that sometimes the absence of a panel had made it impossible for an interview to take place, while there are reports that sometimes some interview marks had got lost or misplaced by officers.

These, coupled with the huge number of teachers due for promotion, mean that many of them are not able to be interviewed.

For instance, this year the number of teachers due for promotion to various ranks was quoted to be above 33,000.

It is the reason the Daily Graphic applauds the decision by the GES to resort to examination as a means of promotion for our teachers.

The popularity of the decision was seen in how it was hailed by the various teacher unions, such as the Coalition of Concerned Teachers, the National Association of Graduate Teachers and the Ghana National Association of Teachers.

Already, the first promotion examination has been written and the feedback we have received indicates that the teachers were generally satisfied with its conduct.

But the allegation of leakage of the questions is worrying and we are happy the GES has given an assurance that it is investigating the complaint.

We ask that the investigation be swift, and the findings published to ensure the sanctity of the new dispensation.

Aside from this, we ask the educational authorities to ensure that nothing is done during this dispensation to thwart the progress made, as that will not be in the interest of the teachers and education in general in the country.

Already, some teachers have complained that they are being coerced into buying pamphlets on the examination. We caution that such materials should not be seen to put teachers under any stress.

Again, it will be desirable for the GES to outline the pass mark or the conditions under which one is considered to have passed to the next rank, so that the conduct of the examination, which is meant to encourage teachers to give of their best in the performance of their duties, does not rather become a disincentive.

We also think that although the promotion examination regime is good, there are certain management and leadership positions that need more than the ability to pass exams.

Such positions demand emotional stability, among other qualities that can best be measured by a combination of tasks.

We hope the GES will have a look at this to make the initiative more beneficial to our pre-tertiary educational sector and, consequently, the human resource development of our country.