Lecturers need ‘training’ -Goski
Prof Goski Alabi, Dean of the Centre for International Education and Collaboration (CIEC) at UPSA, has proposed that for the country’s higher education to become relevant, universities must make internships compulsory for lecturers as well as a requirement for promotion.
“Practical experience in learning how to teach and make an impact is a minimum for creating qualified staff to teach. Without understanding how people learn, the instruments of education are like a dull kitchen knife trying to perform microscopic surgery.
Let’s look at China who’s made incredible advancements in the past few decades from a third world country to the top economy in the world. Their academic staff spend 3-6 months in a teacher training program before stepping into a classroom. This is one of the many secretes to their advancements into a major world power. What can we do as a nation to further enhance the teaching skills of our staff?”
She said it is therefore critical for Ghana to make Work Experience Learning (Internships), a compulsory component of higher education for both students and academic staff.
In Ghana, internships are common among students. Some universities have made it a requirement for students before they graduate from the school. What is not common, however, is that of academic staff or lecturers to embark on internships before they start lecturing.
The National Accreditation Board rather specifies that for a lecturer to qualify to teach he must have at least MPhil, and does not require lecturers to embark on compulsory attachment,before they start teaching.
Quality needs resources
One major issue facing tertiary education in Ghana is resource constraint which has resulted in universities charging exorbitant fees and levies on students on almost everything, including the issuance of attachment letters.
Prof Goski, speaking on the issue, said “When it comes to resources, we need to ensure that we are not caught up in the “No money syndrome” to allow mediocrity to crystalize in Ghana’s higher education institutions.
In this respect, she said the country needs to re-prioritize higher education, and make resources available for it; saying resources should not be limited to physical infrastructure and personal emoluments.
It, she noted, should include resources for laboratory work, practical, incubation, work place experience and international exchanges.
“Why do we continue to spread thinly by establishing more and more higher institutions of learning when those existing are not well resourced? There are so muchwaste and inefficiency in the system that will have to be addressed to allow for efficient use of available resources for strategic financing, and it is to the wisdom of leaders with courage to take action. The truth is quality is not free; it requires resources, she emphasised.
To address the inadequate resources received from government, Prof Goski Alabi, said public universities on their own are struggling to generate income internally to support quality, but again, government is attempting to stretch its neck and take 30% of IGF.
According to her, should this happen, the burden to maintain standards will either be pushed to students, or quality will further be affected, adding that; “we should be mindful of fact that there is a limit to what we can ask students to pay as fees. Such government interferences are not healthy for universities, and can undermine quality.”