Members of Parliament of the Republic of Sierra Leone on Tuesday 8th August 2017 benefitted from a one day training session on professional Standards of our Educational system of the country at committee room one in the House of Parliament, Tower Hill, Freetown.
Senior International Expert, European Union Delegation-Support to the Education Sector & Executive Director in Sierra Leone, Professor Steve Nwokeocha in his presentation said developing a Professional Standards for Teachers and Head of schools in Sierra Leones is very important. Prof. Steve added that the Africa Federation of Teaching Regulatory Authorities (AFTRA), Centurion, South Africa has supported the facilitation of the training so that Sierra Leone can be part of the professional standards in the educational system globally. He went on to say that no profession can succeed without political will and support, the teaching profession also needs to reclaim its position as first among equals, the professionalization of teaching is one sure way bring sanity to the academic system of the country and upgrade the standards of education.
Prof. Steve continued that the development of professional standards for Teachers and Head of Schools is aiming at moving teaching and learning forward and the world have experienced a huge establishment of teacher professional standards which have spread like wild fire across the world, but as usual Africa is lagging behind. He informed that the talk of teacher professional standards has dominated discussions across Africa in the last ten years both at the level of the UNESCO, UN International Task Force on Teachers, African Union, AFTRA, to name but few.
Prof. Steve Nwokeocha said that various international bodies have recorded tremendous achievements in leapfrogging the process of developing teacher standards for Africa, and happily some African countries have already joined the world league of countries with teacher professional standards – principally Namibia, Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa (soon). He added that several African countries are in the race and Sierra Leone also need to achieve its teacher standards before the end of 2017 as scheduled, then the country would make some progress.
Prof. Steve added that to be a professional is a complex issue that goes beyond the ability to perform just any job and Professionalism goes beyond ability to imitate or mechanically, regimentally and rigidly perform an activity.
“Mechanic can open and couple back your car, but does he know what the professional auto engineer knows” he asked. He furthered that a quack can stand before pupils and asks them to repeat a literature passage, but does he/she know what a professional teacher knows and can do? He added that a professional has a special field and proper theoretical and practical grounding obtained through a long process of quality education, commits to moral obligations and statutory regulation, and sees his practice as a lifelong process for public good.
A profession has “some central regulatory body to ensure the standard of performance of individual members; a code of conduct; careful management of knowledge in relation to the expertise which constitutes the basis of the profession’s activities; and lastly, control of numbers, selection, and training of new entrants”. Professor Nwokeocha said. He said because quacks imitate products, give the same packaging the quality and substance can never be the same with the original.
Prof. Steve ended by saying that the Professional has ability to reflect and manage complex situations. Reflective thinking and enquiry are the hallmarks. He never attains the zenith of his or her knowledge and skills and therefore lifelong learning is an integral feature of a professional. A professional is a million times better equipped to make the best of even the worst situation.
Deputy Chairman of the education committee in parliament, Hon. Dr. Roland Kargbo said the issue of professional standards is the centre of education in this country. He said that the training is very important to members of parliament and they will make good use of the training for the benefit of their constituents across the country. He said that they support the idea and will work in order to push the educational system in the country.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.