There is a general public growing concern over the poor performance of public schools compared to the private ones despite the former having professionally trained teachers.
Speaking on E-Radio, an education podcast by iSpace Ghana, Mr. Divine Kpe pointed out that the public-school teachers are doing their best with the limited resources available to them. If they are to be well resourced and supervised, their output will be phenomenal.
“There are many things that improve teaching and learning. The quality of the teacher, which is the main thing, is number one, but resources availability, conducive learning environment, effective supervision and monitoring, teacher motivation, and what have you, all come together to improve teaching and learning. So, where you have the case of a trained teacher who doesn’t have teaching and learning materials. A trained teacher who is somewhere without electricity. A trained teacher who is not well-motivated, a trained teacher who is teaching under dilapidated classroom, and sometimes some are forced to combine two different classes because of unavailable classroom blocks. A trained teacher you don’t provide continuous professional development opportunities for, you don’t expect them to perform magic,” he said.
According to him, when these things are in place, and there is adequate supervision in our schools, the public schools will do well.
“Unfortunately, you don’t see effective supervision going on in our schools because the supervisory authorities are also not well resourced. Moreover, it is who much is given that much is expected from. What are the supervisors coming to supervise when they know very well the people they are coming to supervise doesn’t have all that they need to do their works?” he quizzed. “So, once a while, when they go on supervision, they only go there to represent something. And interestingly, most of them are only interested in the note of the teacher and once that has been shown them, they are okay. They say that is the evidence of work. Meanwhile, I can write the note down and not even teach. I can give as many exercises in a day, but that is not a reflection of true teaching, but that is what they want. They don’t have time to sit through a teacher’s teaching. They don’t have time to interact with the students to see what they have learned,” he added.
In his view, the fact that private schools do better than the private doesn’t mean the untrained teachers there are better than the trained teachers in public schools. “There is more to education than scoring “As” and the trained teacher knows that hence they work on the total development of the child. A trained teacher is trained to identify and manage a child’s behavior problem. They are trained to help the children develop other skills. They are trained to work on the child’s emotional challenges. They offer much more than the untrained teachers would, and we should not attempt to glory untrained teachers over trained teachers because of academic input.”
He also noted that “mostly in private schools, the children are taught to learn the “hard” way. That is not learning. If you force a child to memorize a concept and reproduce to get an “A” without understanding, learning hasn’t taken place. But the trained teachers know how to explain the concepts to the students because of the teaching methodologies they did in school.”
Mr. Kpe indicated that the private schools, with their resource availability, have more to gain if they engage the services of trained teachers.