Reverend Dr Kwesi Nkum Wilson, the Principal of the Komenda College of Education, has appealed to the Ministry of Education to reintroduce the study of Agricultural Science as a stand-alone subject in basic schools.
According to him, agriculture education programmes do not only teach students to be farmers, but also train tomorrow’s scientists, nutritionists, and teachers.
A combination of classroom instruction and applied agriculture experiences outside the classroom could build the foundation for educated consumers and agriculturists.
Dr Wilson made the appeal at a ceremony to mark the 75th anniversary of the College, which was on the theme: “Promoting sustainable national development: The contribution of Komenda College of Education in 75 years.”
He noted that while the College and others had hands-on research training for its agriculture students, new entrants often faced inception challenges, due to their lacked the basic agricultural science knowledge from a stand-alone course at the Junior High School level.
The challenge was that agricultural students in the Colleges of Education were obliged to teach general courses during the Supported Teaching in Schools programme, but the primary school curriculum did not support agricultural studies, he said.
Mr Wilson stated that for this reason, only 15 students selected Agricultural science in the college’s recent admissions.
“If indeed agriculture is the backbone of the economy of Ghana, then we have to take a second look at our curriculum to salvage the future of agriculture in Ghana,” he stated.
The Principal of the College urged the government to initiate processes to accredit private basic schools based on a 50 per cent trained, certified and licensed teaching staff.
This is to ensure that teacher trainees, who completed the Bachelor of Education Programmes from the colleges of education, could be posted to practice in these schools.
According to him, the number of private educational institutions in Ghana had outnumbered government schools, particularly in the urban areas and would need trained teachers.
Dr Wilson said the College had made significant strides in the training of a high-quality teacher workforce for the country in its 75 years of existence, hinging on its founding values of academic excellence, service to God and service to mankind.
He said the College needed an immediate refurbishment of its science laboratories, Art and Technical units, and a means of transport for the Supported Teaching in Schools programme.
Mrs Gifty Twum Ampofo, a Deputy Minister of Education, urged the colleges of education to equip trainee teachers with innovative ideas and qualities for a globalised world.
She said the dividends of the many interventions made in the education sector would not be reaped if teachers were not holistically equipped with skills to mould and nature young pupils to maximise their potentials.
She observed that while the government was committed to ensuring that all Ghanaian children had access to education regardless of class or status, teachers also owed the country a duty to help ensure that the pupils got the best out of education.
She said the basic level of education, which was being managed by graduates of the colleges of education, remained the foundation of the education sector, and it was important that they got it right with the children.
Mrs Ampofo further called for innovative teaching and the careful, but optimum use of technology for teaching and learning, saying the internet could be a good servant but a bad master.
Furthermore, an appeal was made to the teachers to be good role models for the children they would teach, nature and mentor.
On government’s commitment to the allowances of students at colleges of education and the infrastructure on the various campuses, Mrs Ampofo said the government was doing a lot to give them a conducive environment for teaching and learning.
Mrs Justina Marigold Assan, the Central Regional Minister, in a speech read on her behalf, commended the College for its immense contribution towards the training of teachers for the country’s basic level.
She urged the College to hold on to its tenets of discipline and hard work and the fear of God in the training of teachers for the nation.
The Right Rev. Richardson Andam, the Bishop of Cape Coast Diocese of the Methodist church, also commended the College for its immense contribution to education.
Earlier, an administrative block for the school was inaugurated.
Komenda College of Education was established on the premises of the barracks left by the British Navy after the Second World War.
It was leased through the efforts of one Abraham Brew Sam, the then regent of the town and Nana Komeh Ababio, the founder of the town to the Methodist Church in 1947 to be used as a Methodist Teacher Training College.
The government of Ghana later renovated the buildings to make them more conducive for academic work.
On March 11, 1948, the first batch of 40 students were enrolled to begin a two-year Teacher Certificate “B” programme.