Former President John Dramani Mahama, in a hurry to entice teaching professionals, has landed in a policy somersault his previous administration introduced.
He has, therefore, come under fire, faced intense criticism and scrutiny following his recent promise to cancel teacher licensure exams.
Evidence has emerged suggesting that the policy was actually introduced in 2016 during his first term in office.
Records clearly indicate that the licensure exams were initiated under the administration of former President Mahama.
The revelation has caused significant controversy and damage to his reputation, with many questioning Mahama’s credibility and consistency in his policy positions.
Critics argue that his current stance contradicts the approach taken by his own administration regarding teacher licensure exams.
The exam was introduced in September 2016 as announced by the then Director General of the Ghana Education Service (GES), Jacob Kor, and required teachers graduating from colleges of education to pass a professional licensure examination before they can be allowed to hold chalks in the classroom.
Jacob Kor was appointed by John Dramani Mahama and left office when NPP took over in 2017.
Interestingly, Mr. Mahama has argued that the exams are unnecessary given the rigorous training that teacher trainees receive before graduating.
Speaking at Wenchi in the Bono Region as part of his ‘Building Ghana Tour’, the former President indicated that, “This is unnecessary. In our next administration, we will cancel the licensure exams.”
This is not the first time Mr. Mahama has made such a promise as he dances to the gallery to garner public support.
This comes on the back of his 2020 manifesto promise where he planned to abolish the exams, which he says deny several qualified teachers the opportunity to be employed by the government.
“We will abolish the obnoxious licensure exams for teacher trainees and restore the automatic employment of teacher trainee graduates.
“Let me state unequivocally that no teacher trainee graduate will be denied posting or employment under the next Mahama government,” said the former President as he played down the policy his administration introduced.
However, the emergence of records indicating his involvement in the implementation of these exams has raised doubts about the sincerity of his promise.
His current position is something that contradicts his administration’s stance on teacher-quality assurance.
It covered essential teaching skills, numeracy (basic calculation) and literacy (verbal aptitude and essay writing) after the former president announced the starting in September 2016.
Teachers graduating from teacher education programmes with diplomas, bachelor and post-graduate degrees from colleges of education/universities are required to pass a professional licensure examination.
Nurses, medical doctors, pharmacists, lawyers and accountants among other professionals also write licensure/professional examinations as a pre-requisite qualification.
However, DAILY GUIDE can confirm that the licensure examination was first pencilled for the 2016/2017 academic year.
Per a 2016 publication, carried by Daily Graphic on Wednesday, September 21, 2016, it was stated that all newly recruited teachers from the 2016/17 academic year would need licensing.
The licensure exam was introduced as part of efforts to enhance the quality of education and ensure that teachers meet certain standards before entering the profession. While some have praised the exam for promoting professionalism and accountability among teachers, others have criticised it for being burdensome and potentially discouraging individuals from pursuing a teaching career.
Supporters of Mahama have rushed to his defense, arguing that he may have had valid reasons for introducing the exams during his presidency but has since reassessed their impact and changed his position.
They said the reason the former president is calling for its scrapping is faulty implementation of an otherwise noble programme.
However, opponents have accused Mahama of political opportunism, claiming that his promise to cancel the exams is merely an attempt to gain favour with teachers ahead of upcoming elections.
They argue that the revelation of his involvement in their implementation undermines the credibility of his promise, and raises questions about his integrity.
As the controversy surrounding Mahama’s promise continues to unfold, it remains to be seen how this revelation will impact his political campaign and public perception.
The issue of teacher licensure exams is likely to be a topic of debate and scrutiny in the coming weeks, as the former president faces increasing pressure to clarify his position and address the concerns raised by his critics.
By Vincent Kubi