The training of qualified teachers is of paramount importance to the success of the new system. Adequate provisions must be made to educate and train high-quality teachers. To address these ends, institutions have been restructured by way of mergers; courses and programs also have been revised or are being revised. The new system ensures that all teachers are given courses for teaching nonformal and adult education classes and for teaching Sierra Leonean languages, for guidance counseling and continuous assessment, and for basic skills in handling disabled students. Unlike past practices, in the new system, the Department of Education shall, through the Teaching Service Commission, license teachers to teach in Sierra Leone whether their certificate has been issued by an institution in Sierra Leone or by some other recognized body outside Sierra Leone (New Education Policy).
Teacher Training Colleges: Teacher training colleges train teachers for the preprimary and primary levels. At the end of the program, candidates qualify for the Teachers Certificate (TC) and the Higher Teachers Certificate (HTC). Training colleges will, under the new system, also offer HTC courses for the junior secondary level. In the past, students in teacher training colleges spent three years to complete their course; the new system has reduced that to two years.
Milton Margai Teachers College: The Milton Margai Teachers College has been renamed Milton Margai College of Education (MMCE). Recently, a technology focus has been added to this college, so it is being renamed Milton Margai College of Education and Technology (MMCET). In the past this institution was not affiliated to the university, and it produced teachers for secondary school. Now it is affiliated to the University of Sierra Leone and has been upgraded to a degree-awarding status in selected subjects. However, the college will continue its HTC program, which has been shortened to two years instead of three. The college now offers the B.Ed degree. Those who hold the HTC, and have taught for at least two years after the HTC, can spend two years to obtain the B.Ed degree. The Diploma in Education course, originally offered by Fourah Bay College, shall be transferred to MMCET, as will the present staff of the Department of Education at Fourah Bay College.
The Institute of Education: Previously an independent institution, this institute, under the new system, shall be attached to the Faculty of Education at Njala with redefined functions and mandates. The institute continues to certify TC and HTC teachers of MMCET and other teacher colleges. The institute trains education administrators and runs higher degree courses in education. It also will have specialized functions for educational research and in-service training for primary and secondary school teachers and managers of schools.
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