The National Service Scheme (NSS) has justified the enrolment of newly trained tertiary-level teachers (graduates) from the Colleges of Education on the scheme.
The Scheme is insisting that it is an opportunity being offered to the graduates to undertake one-year national service in fulfillment of Act 426 of 1980.
The management of NSS has said this is being done during the period of the already existing induction/probation programme that ushers in newly trained teachers to full teacher status.
A statement by the Corporate Affairs Directorate of the NSS said it had “noted with utter dismay and shock” the abolition campaign of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) against the enrolment if it comes to power.
“The management of the scheme deems the comments as unfortunate and feels compelled in the present circumstances, and for what we perceive should be in the public interest, to share hard facts in the hope to bring clarity to the circumstances surrounding the introduction of the programme.
“It is important to recall that management of the scheme with approval from government introduced the service programme for the newly trained teachers in 2018 to afford newly trained teachers an opportunity to offer a one-year national service in fulfillment of Act 426 of 1980 and is to be done during the period of the already existing induction/probation programme that ushered in newly trained teachers to full teacher status.”
“This was purely a policy decision which seeks to include all qualified and eligible graduates as stipulated in the NSS ACT 426 of 1980. This is the legal framework that established the scheme,” the statement indicated.
It added that beginning from 2019, “the first cohort of newly trained teachers” was deployed after extensive stakeholder engagement among the parties including the National Service Scheme, Ghana Education Service (GES), National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE), and the National Teaching Council (NTC).
The NSS, therefore, advised politicians to stay away from denigrating a nationally accepted programme that serves as a transition between school and the world of work that instills in the youth “the sense and spirit of nation-building and civic responsibility.”
The statement explained that teachers who received certificate “A” qualification from Teacher Training Colleges fell short of enrolment onto the National Service Scheme because the institutions did not offer tertiary education unlike today and following their upgrade into diploma-awarding institutions and the passage of the Colleges of Education Act, Act 847, they were placed under the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE).
The statement said this brought graduates from the Colleges of Education into the bracket of students required to undergo a compulsory one-year service to the state.
“This means that graduates from our Colleges of Education which have now been upgraded to the tertiary status do not have the luxury option of avoiding national service as propounded by ex-President of the Republic of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama, and his cohorts,” it added.
NSS management said, “It is absolutely critical for members of the public and especially the NDC to be reminded that graduates of a tertiary institution that are liable to national service cannot be employed contrary to the provisions of the NSS Act.”