The Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) has underscored the need for early childhood educators to be resourced to discharge their duties effectively.
It was important that the right opportunities were created for them to upgrade their knowledge, skills, and teaching methodologies, Ms. Phillipa Larsen, President of the Association, advocated.
According to the Ghana Living Standard Survey conducted in 2020, about 651,000 children in the country were at age four, which was the school-going age.
Ms. Larsen, speaking at the National Early Childhood Educators (ECE) Representatives meeting at Abankro in the Ejisu Municipality of the Ashanti Region, bemoaned the non-recognition and respect for ECEs in the country.
“It has been perceived that teachers who teach at that level are not brilliant and skilled.
“However, this is not true, because the ECEs remain some of the best tutors on the Ghanaian scene since they are the foundation builders for all pupils,” the GNAT President emphasized.
Consequently, issues impeding their work such as inadequate classrooms to cater to the growing number of children, welfare issues, and the lack of furniture, teaching, and learning materials should be addressed.
Ms. Larsen pointed out that this was necessary to enhance effective teaching and learning for the benefit of the Ghanaian child.
The programme saw the ECEs drawn from the 16 regions across the country, going through the Early Childhood Education Policy, the New Curriculum, and the Universal Design for Learning.
It was designed to lift the professional status of the practitioners in early childhood education.
The GNAT President said once a new curriculum was implemented, there was the need for the ECEs to upgrade their knowledge and skills, and rise above just being mere care-takers.
She drew attention to challenges at the infants’ level, stemming from designing their classrooms, feeding, and supporting parents.
Ms. Larsen called on the teachers to demonstrate actionable and practical steps towards children’s holistic development.
Mr. Thomas Tanko Musa, General Secretary, GNAT, said good early childhood education ought to be strengthened and supported to make teaching and learning of infants more enjoyable.
“The child who does not have a good educational basis and cannot read and write before basic three is likely to drop out of school with the attendant negative consequences such as child labour and streetism,” he observed.
Madam Barbara Now, Director for Early Childhood Education at the Ghana Education Service (GES), called on all stakeholders in education to support the implementation of the ECE Policy to give impetus to infant education.
In a related development, parents have also supported the call and further suggested that Government should extend its free education policy to cover Early Childhood Development Centres across the nation.
Madam Grace Ashong of Teshie, Camp 2 observed that since the collapse of the 31st DWM which had taken it upon itself to set up Early Childhood Dev. Centres in cities and villages, Early childhood education in Ghana has been left in the corridors of private individuals.
Mr. Timothy Oheneba also noted that since many of these schools are mostly found in urban centers due to the fact that they are commercially motivated, it makes it difficult for ordinary Ghanaians to afford their services.
Despite this fact, the schools are not able to acquire the requisite inputs to effectively provide tuition as may be required by international standards. This is due to inadequate capital on the part of the school owners.
“It is therefore not a bad idea if Government should provide resources for them, Yeah, it is good, I support the idea” he added.