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 emphasised.
Consequently, issues impeding their work such as inadequate classrooms to cater for the growing number of children, welfare issues and the lack of furniture, teaching and learning materials ought to 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 the designing of their classrooms, feeding and support for 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 Ntow, 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.