According to Ghana Ministry of Education statistical information for 1996, approximately 72 percent of all teachers in the nation's first circle of education are certified. This represents a 34.7 percent increase over the 1990 ratio of 53.2 percent. Of the 1996 total, approximately 86 percent of all female teachers were certified compared to about 64 percent of their male counterparts. This information notwithstanding, 1994-1995 figures showed that, of the 71,863 teachers in public primary schools, only 34 percent were female. However, this was a great improvement over figures from the 1970s, when the average percentage of female teachers employed in the primary school system was in the mid-teens.
Female teaching staff representation at the secondary and tertiary levels of education is comparatively smaller than at the primary school level. In 1970-1971 for example, 17 percent of female teachers were teaching at secondary schools. The number increased to 21 percent in 1980-1981, and 26 percent in 1985-1986. While the percentage for the 1990s was not available in the UNESCO Statistical Yearbook (1999), it was still interesting to note that the female student population at the nation's universities was averaging only in the twentieth percentile. Since it was from this pool that secondary school teachers were drawn, there is no reason to believe that the percentages of female teachers in the secondary school system increased significantly during the decade of the 1990s. The percentage of women teachers at the nation's tertiary institutions is much smaller.
Teacher training in Ghana has a history of its own. Historians agree that during the colonial era, teacher training was closely associated with the work of the various religious denominations. In many cases, the headmasters of the schools also acted as caretakers of the village church. The secularization of the teaching profession occurred with the introduction of the 1951 Accelerated Education Plan. Also, because of the rapid expansion of the school system, the need for teachers increased to the extent that many persons whose only qualification was a tenth grade education were recruited as "pupil-teachers." Even as late as 1966, around 63 percent of the nation's primary school teachers were uncertified.
The rapid expansion of teacher training facilities throughout the country took place in the decade of the 1960s. The goal was to provide four-year "Certificate A" training for teachers. But until it was phased out in 1963, two-year "Certificate B" colleges also operated to provide a quick turnover of certified teachers. Students who have completed the traditional five-year secondary education could also be certified to teach in the elementary school system by attending specialized two-year postsecondary teacher institutions.
The rapid expansion of teacher education yielded results, and by 1971, approximately 71 percent of all primary school teachers were certified. Confident that the nation's teacher supply could be met in the near future, many of the teacher training institutions were converted to secondary schools. Of course, this was prior to the severe economic crisis of the late 1970s through the early 1980s that forced many to seek better paying jobs in Nigeria. Furthermore, the educational reforms that began in 1987 have brought further changes in teacher training. All of the remaining 38 teacher training colleges in the country are operated as postsecondary institutions. To address the need for practical training for students in the JSS, more science education has been incorporated into the teacher education curriculum. It has also been proposed that teachers-in-training be required to spend considerable hours doing in-field practice teaching. The plan is to make them more aware of the changing conditions of the communities in which they are to be employed. Teachers for the secondary and teacher training colleges are prepared at the nation's universities.
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