The Minister of Education, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, says no teacher should feel incapacitated because of the absence of textbooks.
“It should not be made to seem as if without the textbook teaching and learning cannot take place,” he said, adding that textbooks were supposed to be reference materials.
Dr Prempeh was interacting with the leadership of the Colleges of Education Weekly Journal, a platform for all colleges of education in the country at his office in Accra last Thursday.
The interaction was to enable the team to seek clarification on pertinent issues on teacher trainees, the role of the teacher in the classroom and the way forward for teacher education in the country.
Focus of new curriculum
Dr Prempeh told the teachers that the main focus for the new curriculum was to change the way that the subjects were being delivered.
“So, instead of the teacher standing in front of the classroom talking for the students to listen, we are expecting them to be groups of students with the teacher supporting them and the children learning among themselves to encourage team play, to encourage bonding, among others.
“Those soft skills are what differentiate this curriculum from the book and so, it is how you deliver it,” Dr Prempeh said.
He revealed that there were some two subjects written in both the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) and the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) without textbooks.
“So how have we been preparing those students over the past 20 years?” the minister queried, adding that everywhere, textbooks were reference books.
He explained that the government did not publish textbooks, “textbooks are developed by private individuals based on the curriculum.
He explained that there had never been any time that a new curriculum was developed alongside the textbooks and the current situation was no exception, “the exception being that for the first time in this country, a teacher resource pack has been provided to all teachers from KG One to Primary Six to use as a guide while waiting for the textbooks.”
Dr Prempeh announced that the government had begun paying book allowance to eligible non-teaching senior staff of the colleges of education for the academic year.
He explained that there was the need to agree on those on analogous ranks to be properly placed before such payments were made.