Sunday, January 24, 2016

Community Volunteer Teachers Better Compared To YEA, NSS Teachers – Studies RevealN/R

Mr. Eric Kavaarpuo

Studies by NOYED-Ghana and Associates for Change have revealed that, Community Volunteer Teachers (CVTs) engaged by the former, demonstrate better overall performance in providing high quality teaching compared to those engaged by the Youth Employment Agency and the National Service Scheme. 

The studies also concluded that CVTs support education delivery in a low-cost but high impact manner compared with qualified or professional teachers. “The delivery of some qualified teachers does not justify the salaries they take”, Eric Kavaarpuo, Lead Researcher, told a forum of CVTs and the Ghana Education Service (GES) officials in Tamale.

The forum was organised by NOYED-Ghana with support from Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) and Comic Relief, UK, to commemorate International Volunteer Day which falls on December 5 every year. It is an international observance day designated by the United Nations since 1985. 

The day offers an opportunity for volunteer organisations and individual volunteers to make visible their contributions – at local, national and international levels – to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.  

As part of the commemoration of the day in Tamale, NOYED-Ghana also honoured the efforts and contributions of its sixty-one (61) CVTs engaged under phase two of the Tackling Education Needs Inclusively (TENI II) project. All 61 CVTs were given certificates while the top 3 got bicycles each and some cash prizes.

TENI II seeks to achieve systemic change in basic education by improving retention, transition, completion and quality basic education for disadvantaged children, particularly girls and children with disabilities (CWDs). The project spans from 2014–2017 with the overall goal of seeking to improve influence of girls over decisions that affect their lives. 

Mr. Alhassan A. Iddi
Beneficiary districts are Jirapa, Talensi, Nabdam, Mamprugu-Moaduri and West Mamprusi. TENI II focuses on 60 communities; 20 communities in the Jirapa District and 10 communities each in the Talensi, Nabdam, West Mamprusi and Mamprugu-Moaduri Districts.

While commending the CVTs, Executive Director of NOYED-Ghana Alhassan Abdulai Iddi, however observed that, despite the contributions of CVTs, the GES does not involve them in their capacity building programmes. “They are seen as volunteers but not GES staff so they are not selected to participate in training programmes”. 

Some of the CVTs too, he said, are not given access to Teaching and Learning Materials such as syllabus and teachers guide in the schools they teach. 

Mr. Iddi appealed to the GES to consider absorbing CVTs who have acquired professional training in teaching. “Last year, 12 CVTs (about 20%) out of the 61 CVTs gained admission into tertiary institutions. Many of them are also still in colleges of education and are graduating in turns. Currently 6 have completed while 12 are still in school”, he noted.

We are also using this platform to appeal to government to consider rewarding people who have served in our rural areas as volunteers in the form of job opportunities and other recognitions.

According to Mr. Kavaarpuo, Community Volunteer Teachers provide regular and dependable “body of teachers” to prevent schools from being closed down especially during strikes. “ They contribute to addressing teacher absenteeism since GES contracted teachers tend to absent themselves from school”, he pointed out.

N/R Dir. GES Presenting certificate/bicycle to an awardee

He also noted that, CVTs are more inclusive in their approaches to teaching, giving more personal attention to children, engaging in extra-curricular activities with pupils and promote school community-relations.

Pupil Teachers (including volunteers), he further observed, had a more nurturing warm approach towards their pupils compared to the trained teachers.  “Trained teachers remained at a distance from the pupils which often interfered with children’s ability to ask questions in the classroom”.

Meanwhile, Mr. Kavaarpuor advocated the need for educational authorities to intensify monitoring and supervision of all teachers, whilst motivating volunteer teachers who occupy teacher vacancies where there are no qualified teachers.

The revitalized Youth Employment Agency (YEA), he recommended, should also prioritize the recruitment of committed Community Volunteer Teachers who are already offering their services in various communities across the country. 

As a matter of policy, Mr. Kavaarpuor said public service must make rural work experience a requirement for employment. “This could be extended to the private sector, with Public Private Partnership as the logical starting point. This would not only attract relevant manpower to rural areas, but serves as motivation for those who have accepted to work in rural areas”, he maintained.

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