Even though the current system of training of teachers at different institutional levels may be considered an interim arrangement, we must look into the long term proposition that training of teachers at the University level ought to be ultimate.
According to some reports, graduate teachers from some institutions are not given exposure to primary school teaching.
The teaching practice exercise is done at certain levels only. These institutions are therefore, unable to prepare teacher trainees adequately to teach in the current primary level classrooms.
One report suggested that the inadequacy should be corrected by exposing student teachers to classroom experience in the first level education (refer to Ghana National Association of Teachers, 198G).
Today the world of teaching is diverse and expanding and Ghana is no exception. There is therefore the need for preparing teachers for a changing Ghanaian community.
This calls for teacher education programs that can guide teachers to acquire requisite knowledge, skills and commitments that should enable the teachers to be effective in the diverse classroom.
The ultimate goal of the teacher education program would be to provide teachers with the core ideas for the broad understanding of teaching and learning that are informed by evidence-based practice rather than mere personal experiences.
Teacher training programs should identify best practices in education that are sensitive to the contextual judgments teachers must make in the classroom.
This in many ways will reconstruct the nature of teachersí knowledge and, by implication, their expertise and identity.
As teachersí knowledge has come to be accepted as one of the keys to improving educational practice, top-down education reforms in Ghana have to ensure that the acquisition and development of specific subject knowledge is at the centre of provision for initial teacher training and development.
We also need to direct our attention to how teachers acquire effective practice pedagogies. We need to focus on how teachers learn and improve and how, in the light of this knowledge, education programs can better prepare teachers.
As stated earlier, in Ghana there is a high level of commitment by the government to improve the quality of education, hence there is an emerging paradigm of quality at school and classroom level processes.
However, any governmental policy aimed at pushing net enrolments towards 100 per cent must also insure decent learning conditions and opportunities, and that includes how teachers are trained, catered for and motivated to teach.
We need to investigate the many factors that contribute to lower educational participation and achievement in both urban and rural areas in Ghana.
Possibly there may be opportunity costs for attending schools in rural than urban areas but why are they often higher in rural than in urban areas? One other area of improvement in teacher education is that productive pedagogy needs to come early in the teacher education program in order to be more fully integrated into studentsí knowledge base for teaching.
Productive pedagogy should be clearly positioned in that way from the beginning of the teacher education program used as a device to guide all aspects of the teacher education curriculum as well as modeled in the pedagogy of teacher educators.
Although a great deal has been said and written about the problems and shortcomings of Ghanaian education, what is still lacking is encouraging good qualitative research at the local level based on empirical data on utilization of input factors by teachers and pupils at the classroom level.
Fact is education quality should be concerned with processes of teaching, learning, testing, managing and resourcing through in-depth qualitative investigations of such processes.
It must concern itself with how input factors are utilised as teachers and children engage each other in the classroom learning environment in Ghanaian schools in different contexts (rural, urban, public, private, deprived and non-deprived) and the research is needed to better understand how to improve quality of education.
Indeed, Ghanaian teachers are warriors and physicians. They wage war against prejudice, greed, health, morality†and ignorance in the community.
And Ghanaian teachers who have dedicated themselves to teaching and gave their lives no less hardly, live to see some fraction of their battle won in their students.
It seems in todayís Ghanaian community our social priorities as a nation and lack of recognition of teachers in the community do not encourage teachers to give their best.
If parents, students and other concerned citizens of our country really know the value in teaching, they will do all they can to make a teacherís life less troublesome and give due credit to the profession.
It will make us realize whether teaching is a vocation or a profession to be cherished by all.
The writer is a professor of English, Education and African American and African Studies in the USA.