I HAVE read many fascinating graduation speeches from various primary school teachers’ college principals in the two dailies, leading to the closure of 2018 academic year.
One that captured my attention was from a principal in the nation’s capital (Sacred Heart), who emphasised the college’s trainee teacher recruitment exercise, where hundreds of non-school leavers were recruited directly from the village to be trained as classroom teachers.
The number of school leavers trained and taking up teaching positions in some of the remote schools is absolutely staggering.
A college principal said more than 600 teachers had passed through the college in recent years, mainly non-school leavers, who were unable to progress into tertiary institutions after grade 12.
A clear case of recruiting anyone off the street without having to meet the required Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.5 or above.
The latter is clearly emphasised in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and reads “higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit”.
High quality education results in high quality graduates and teaching staff which will ultimately lead to a better society.
Higher quality education will also contribute to eradication of poverty, sustainable development and progress towards reaching the internationally agreed-upon development goals, which include the millennium development goals (MDGs) and education for all (EFA).
Recruiting hundreds of academically unqualified non-school leavers with no content knowledge, training them and dispatching to take up remote teaching positions is scary.
This is at a time when the products coming out from such institutions are struggling to deliver quality education in the classroom.
The country is also struggling to get quality education back on track from the impact of the failed outcome-based education system in the country.
Though the remarks sounded inspirational to someone in terms of addressing teacher shortage in remote areas, I sensed that the principal had significantly compromised the integrity of quality assurance standards required of any higher learning institutions in the country.
A key mechanism for creating a more egalitarian education system is to enhance the quality of education and training.
This contributes to the full potential of a graduate teacher who will quantify the social and economic development of a nation at large.
I am just equally concerned about the mass of students, kind of knowledge produced, curriculum design standards and type of graduates exiting from similar colleges and universities.
Department of Higher Education Research Science and Technology (DHERST) in the country needs to review the current quality assurance standards.
Conduct a mandatory quality assurance audit and inspections to enhance the quality of education and training systems delivered in many of our higher learning institutions in the country.
Hence, improve the quality of learning and teaching delivered in every classroom.
In my view, Government regulations are not sufficient enough to deal with the sudden growth of colleges.
This leads to many bad actors seeking to capitalise on the eagerness of prospective students to earn a certificate or diploma at high cost, but delivering poor quality of learning experiences and worthless credentials.
Obviously, the establishment of a higher education quality assurance structure is seen as non-existent.
The Government must look at improving quality of our higher learning institutions by tightening quality assurance standards in its entirety.