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Effective 1st January 2023 next year, the National Teaching Council (NTC) will begin the enforcement of the law on teacher licensing in the country.
This means that all teachers in public and private schools have between now and December 31, 2022, to possess a licence before they can teach in any school in the country.
Failure to have a licence will result in the prosecution of the unlicensed teacher and owner of the school employing such a person.
“Now, we are moving into the licensing enforcement stage and from January 2023, anybody who does not have the authorisation (licence) to teach, the NTC will deal with that person because the law is clear; you can be prosecuted for not owning a licence and teaching,” the Registrar of the NTC, Dr Christian Addai-Poku, told the Daily Graphic in Accra.
Among other things, he said Section 79 of the Education Regulatory Bodies Act, 2020 (Act 1023) stated that “A person shall not knowingly or negligently employ a person as a teacher in an institution unless the teacher is registered under this Act.
A person who contravenes this commits an offence and is liable to summary conviction to a fine not less than 500 penalty units and not more than 1000 penalty units or to a term of imprisonment of not less than six months and not more than one year.”
Dr Addai-Poku said the NTC would next year go strictly according to what was contained in the Education Regulatory Bodies Act, adding that once a person was in the classrooms without a licence and was not applying for it, the NTC would go after them from January.
Under the exercise, he said the council would send its inspectors to public and private schools to go and check.
“We would be sending inspectors to schools to go and check. So we move to the school and take the data of the teachers to find out whether everybody is licensed.
The law does not put the punishment on those who are teaching only but also on the person who is employing – both public and private schools,” he said.
He emphasised that it was required of every teacher in the country to have a licence to teach.
“If you are teaching in the Ghanaian classroom, you are part of it, so both public and private school teachers.
If you are a private school teacher and you don’t have a full licence, you have to apply for a temporary licence,” he said.
The Registrar of the NTC, therefore, said between now and December this year, “you still have the right to apply if you are not a qualified teacher.
You have to apply for a temporary licence which is renewable for two years. If you don’t do that and we come to the school, we will not only prosecute the teacher but we would also prosecute the person who employed the teacher”.
Dr Addai-Poku said the responsibility to get a temporary licence was on the teacher since he/she was going to teach and that it was also the duty of a school to find out whether persons they were employing were licensed or not.
“Even before you enter a school, ideally you should have a licence before you are employed. But if you are already in the system then get that licence before NTC’s deadline takes effect,” he said, adding that it would be good for proprietors to also support their teachers to be licensed else they would have to dismiss them in order not to fall foul of the law.
Asked why the law was not enforced all this while, he said the council took the time from 2018 to sensitise teachers to the need to be licensed although at that time the law was not passed, “but it was to educate them on the forthcoming law,” which was subsequently passed in 2020.
Immediately after the law was passed, Dr Addai-Poku said, the council started with the registration of in-service teachers and so had gone round the whole country moving from region to region, district to district registering teachers and that process was completed just this month.
He emphasised that a teacher could either have a provisional, temporary or full license in order to qualify to teach.