The Teacher is Central to Educational Enterprise

The Chairman of the National Teaching Council, Prof. Eric Nyarko-Sampson says “Central to the Educational enterprise is the teacher”.   “The role of the teacher, we are all aware, is such crucial that no nation can afford to ignore it”, he stated.   Prof. Nyarko-Sampson stated this when he delivered an address at the launch of the 70th anniversary of the Komenda College of Education (Komenco) in Accra. Komenda College of Education was established out of the barracks building left by the Fleet Air Arm of the British Navy after the Second World War. It was leased to the Methodist Church Ghana, in 1947 to be used as a training college. The first batch of of forty students who were all men was enrolled on 11th March, 1948 to start an initial 2-Year Teacher’s Cert. “B” programme. It became a co-educational institution in 1952 with the first batch of 30 women.   The speaker who tweaked the theme of the anniversary “Providing Quality Education in Ghana, The Key Contribution of Komenda College of Education and Its Key Stakeholders in 70 Years” to “Seventy Years of Providing Quality Teacher Education in Ghana; The Contribution of Komenda College of Education and Its Key Stakeholders” said the role of the teacher is so crucial that no nation can afford to ignore it. “Ghana has over the years made efforts to train and develop teachers to form the bedrock of training the manpower needs of the country”, he said.   The chairman of the National Teaching Council said since society was dynamic, so teacher education must also be dynamic to enable teachers to be trained to teach students to become useful individuals who can fit and function well in society. Touching on the importance of the teacher to development, Prof. Nyarko-Sampson indicated “Teachers are one of the most influential and powerful forces for equity, access and quality in education and key to sustainable development”. The speaker mentioned that figures from UNESCO Institute of Statistics indicate that 69 million teachers must be recruited in order to achieve universal primary and secondary education by 2030. This, he said was supported by the Sustainable Development Goal 4: which calls for Quality Education through the Education 2030 Framework for Action, which has a target calling for a substantial increase in qualified teachers through the betterment of their training, recruitment, retention, status, working conditions and motivation.   Turning to the achievements of the College, Prof. Nyarko-Sampson who is also the Dean of Faculty of Educational Foundations, UCC said Komenco over the years has been at the fore-front of initial teacher preparation for basic education level in Ghana. “The College has trained teachers who have come out resilient, and can be found in all parts of the country”.   The training offered, he noted included aspects of core skills and competences and has enhanced the life and pedagogical strategies of its products. This fact, according to him was attested to by employees and supervisors of products from the College adding “this excellence in training, is highly reflected in the output of its products”. Prof. Nyarko-Sampson intimated that at 70 and going forward, for the college to stay competitive in the changing face of initial teacher education in Ghana, “the college needs to do more has more to do”.   The changing times in the frontiers of education sector according to him, required the preparation of “an even better teacher”, a teacher who will not only impart knowledge but ensure the “production of a whole person”, who understands him/herself, his/her potentials, and has the skills to think critically and contribute to overall national development agenda by applying critical thinking skills. “Teachers trained to be critical in their thinking and practice can be competitive and promote education quality in 21st century Ghana”, he declared.   Prof. Nyarko-Sampson who is an old student of the college averred that training provided by Komenco should be one that promotes evidenced-based teaching and learning; that helps its products to evaluate needs and priorities, design and deliver quality lessons to ensure quality education in the classroom. He called for the development of 21st century skills that the school should teach to enable students to live in the world, to make them “digital natives rather than digital fugitives”. He said teachers should be trained and encouraged to be more reflective and reflexive, and to think outside the box than conventional or traditional ones we find around. “As teachers we have a stake in the curriculum which we would use in teaching our students”, he said.   The College should train teachers who will be assertive enough to incorporate experiences from their previous teaching encounters into their present teaching without sacrificing the objective(s) of the lessons”. He said government as a major stakeholder, was expected to do more in the provision of infrastructure for teaching and learning. “And this we call humbly upon the government of Ghana to assist the College, as Oliver Twist, we continue to call for more”, he appealed.   The Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church Ghana, the Most Rev. Titus Awotwi-Pratt, who launched the anniversary called on all old students to fully participate in the programme to make it a success.   Most Rev. Awotwi-Pratt, also an old student, unveiled the anniversary cloth and reiterated the immense contribution of the college to individuals, communities and the country as a whole.   Another old student of the College, who was the chairperson for the launch, Prof. Dora Edu-Buandoh, repeated the call for all old students to take part in the anniversary celebrations in April 2018.   Prof. Edu-Buandoh who is the Provost of the College of Humanities and Legal Studies, appealed to individuals and organisations to sponsor activities of the celebrations.   Present at the ceremony were the acting Executive Secretary of the National Teaching Council (NTC) Dr. (Mrs.) Evelyn Owusu Oduro, national president of the Old Students Association (KOSA) of Mr. Kish Ato Odum; and other old students.