Few months ago, the Ghana Education Service (GES) posted on their website (www.gespostings.net) an advertisement meant to recruit teachers to teach English, Mathematics, Science and Geography at the Senior High School level. As part of the application process, applicants were requested to submit a passport picture and scanned certificate. They were also asked about their teaching experience when filling the online application form. All these were supposed to be submitted before 21st March, 2016. Given the recent recruitment scams that have been recorded in the country, using technology-oriented recruitment approach appears laudable and novel. This also affords every qualified teacher an equal chance of applying and being potentially selected for any vacant position in the GES.
However, the exercise has turned out to be a nightmare for graduate teachers who applied. VIAM Africa’s investigations revealed that, the Ghana Education Service has released a list of applicants who have been shortlisted to undertake a test in English Language and their respective subject areas on the 21st May, 2016 at various centres communicated to the applicants.
A notice on their recruitment website (www.gespostings.net/jobapplications/shortlisted) reveals a rather worrying demand from the GES. It reads:
NB: Prospective applicants should note the following,
- Candidates should write the test at the venue allocated to them
- Candidates should pay 62 Ghana cedis as examination fee. Purchase banker’s draft at any bank in the name of Director General, GES.
- Candidates must write their index number at the back of the banker’s draft before entering the examination hall.
- Candidates must present banker’s draft on the day of the examination.
- Candidates must report to the examination centre by 7.30am
A total of 4,590 applicants have been shortlisted from various parts of the country and each of these applicants is supposed to pay GHS 62 to take part in a test conducted by GES. This is not only unfortunate but very ridiculous to say the least. The questions that beg for answers are:
- Does GES doubt the qualifications of these applicants who have been shortlisted? If yes, what does this mean to the country’s teacher education programmes run by the universities? If no, what then is the use of the test?
- Do corporate institutions take money from prospective applicants before they organize aptitude test for them in their quest to reduce the number of applicants? If no, why is the GES taking money from these prospective applicants before they take part in a test?
- What is the guarantee that all those who take part in the test would be appointed by the GES? If there is no guarantee, then why take money from them?
- What is the correlation between a prospective applicant’s performance in such a test and his/her ability to teach? The extant literature on teacher effectiveness shows that there is no established relationship between a prospective applicant’s performance in a test and their ability to teach.
- What is the use of the 62 Ghana cedis? Examination fee?
An interaction with some of the applicants indicated that, they are very surprised at the turn of events. To some of these young unemployed graduate teachers, they thought this was an avenue to give each one of them an equal and unbiased chance to get employed by the GES. However, the prevailing arrangement indicates that, the GES appears to be taking advantage of the unemployed teachers’ desperation to finding a job. It may be an avenue to exploit desperate and innocent unemployed graduate teachers. VIAM Africa equally holds the view that, this action of the GES questions the credibility of certificates awarded by universities such as University of Cape Coast and University of Education (Winneba). Beyond that, there is no guarantee that those who pass the so-called test would be effective teachers consistent with a plethora of empirical evidence. Teacher knowledge has often been found to have limited predictive power over their classroom decisions and behaviour( interested readers may refer to the seminal works of Frank Pajares, Albert Bandura, Isaac Ajzen and Matin Fishbein, Paul Ernest).
We are therefore earnestly urging the Ministry of Education to halt this process as soon as possible. In these hard times that we all find ourselves in, no unemployed graduate should be made to pay any amount in their quest to get employed by a public institution. This seems not only insensitive but also very callous on the part of the GES.