Two teacher unions and some teachers have hailed the decision of the Ghana Education Service (GES) to revise its promotion process.
The National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), the Coalition of Concerned Teachers, Ghana (CCT-G) and some teachers have expressed their satisfaction with the decision to switch from interviewing teachers to the writing of aptitude tests as the method to grade them
According to the unions and the teachers, aptitude tests were a more reliable way of grading teachers, since the use of interviews could be slanted.
The Director-General of the GES, Prof. Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa told the Daily Graphic yesterday that the new promotion process would be launched in Kumasi tomorrow (Friday). He said stakeholders expected to be present at the launch include all teacher unions, Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS) among others.
In separate interviews, they were all unanimous in the view that aptitude tests would eliminate all the biases associated with interviews.
“We have been part of the engagement and it is something we support because we believe it will help reduce the number of years teachers have to stay in certain positions before they are promoted,” the Vice-President of NAGRAT, Mr Jacob Anaba, told the Daily Graphic in an interview in Accra yesterday.
He explained that currently teachers who were due for promotion had been delayed by two years or more due to the process used for the promotion.
“Those teachers were supposed to have been promoted around 2018-2019,” he said.
The delay, he said, was due to the fact that it took a longer time for a panel to sit to interview the large number of teachers who were due for promotion.
“As we speak, there are 38,597 teachers who are due for promotion in the GES. These are the 2014 and 2015 batches, and if we are to empanel in a region, it will take not less than six months for them to be able to complete their work,” Mr Anaba said.
‘We support it’
Unlike the interview procedure, he said, an aptitude test could take about two hours or less to help assess teachers who were qualified for promotion in record time.
“So we have, from day one, supported the new thing and we believe that it will help teachers be promoted on time. This will help clear the backlog,” he said.
Normally, Mr Anaba said, teachers were supposed to be on a particular grade for three years, but due to the lack of the resources needed to conduct interviews, the promotion process was delayed, compelling teachers to stay on their grades for more than necessary.
“So in principle we do support the new initiative. It will ensure that those who are due for promotion get it on time,” he added.
Promotion is crucial
The NAGRAT Vice-President said the issue of promotion was very critical, since it was supposed to serve as a means of motivating teachers.
“When you are promoted, it means that you are moved to a higher grade and the responsibility that is expected of you increases. This comes with an increase in pay,” he said, adding: “Some teachers are demotivated because they have been on their grades longer than they are supposed to be, and this may affect productivity.”
Mr Anaba said if a worker was given what was due him or her, he or she would give of his or her best.
Moreover, he said, it was from promotions that managers of schools were derived, as qualified persons with the right competencies were known from promotions.
“If you don’t promote, you cannot determine who is qualified to be a manager because before you become a head or assistant head, you have to go through promotion,” he added.
Corroborating what Mr Anaba said, the President of the CCT-G, Mr Ali Awudu, said the process of interviewing teachers for promotion was largely subjective because it was the panel that conducted the interview that made the decision, noting that if a teacher was not in the good books of a panel member, that person was likely to fail the teacher.
“Sometimes you enter the place for an interview and see a particular face that makes everything in you fizzle out of your mind. That is going to be out of the picture now and we are going to be on the same playing field, with no biases,” he said.
He recalled an instance when a number of teachers were not been promoted because the head of the promotion interview panel, after the interview session, got involved in an accident and the score sheet and other documents got destroyed.
Touching on the number of teachers due for promotion as of December 2019, Mr Awudu said about 48,000 teaching and about 2,000 non-teaching staff were due for promotion and wondered how long it would take the GES to complete such an interview session.
“We are talking about one year to complete the interview. With this, the cost implications to the GES is huge, talking about feeding, accommodation, where applicable, and other costs involved.
“But with the aptitude test, it takes just 30 minutes to an hour and everything is sorted out,” he told the Daily Graphic.
He said, for instance, that the GES had set March 21 and 22, 2020 for the aptitude test, and by the end of that month, the results would be released.
Mr Awudu described the decision as the best in the interest of teachers and educational workers, adding: “We are fully for it.”
Expressing her opinion on the matter, the 2019 Best Teacher Prize Winner, Ms Sabina Koda Dosu, said it was a very good decision to switch to aptitude tests because the mere sight of an interview panel alone intimidated some teachers.
She said the aptitude tests were good because no one would be in the examination hall to intimidate anyone, explaining that someone could be good, but facing the panel could frighten that person to perform poorly.