Emerging Trends in Distance Education and Teachers' Education in Ghana

Emerging Trends in Distance Education and Teachers' Education in Ghana

Alex Kumi-Yeboah (Dalton State College, USA), Herbert Blankson (Dalton State College, USA) and William Young III (University of South Florida, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5162-3.ch017
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In the past two decades, there has been rapid demand for higher education in Ghana. This has created continued pressure on the government to institute viable alternative solutions to curb the incidence where qualified applicants are often denied admission to higher education due to limited infrastructural facilities. Distance education has emerged as the best alternative means to help provide admission to qualified applicants, especially those in the field of teacher education. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze secondary data from two public universities that offered teacher education degree programs in distance education. Results indicate an increased progression of students in teacher education programs in distance education over the last ten years. This chapter offers background information on distance education with emphasis on teacher education in Ghana. In addition, the chapter discusses the results of secondary data, prospects, and challenges facing distance and teacher education in Ghana. Possible solutions, recommendations for future research, and conclusions follow.
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In sub-Saharan Africa, the consistent increase of student population in higher education has led to a crisis in students’ admission to universities in the region (Nichol & Watson, 2003). For example, the United Nations Organization (UNO) estimates that about 3.8 million teachers need to be recruited and trained by 2015 to achieve universal primary educational goals (United Nations, 2011). The rapid growth of student population with limited space in the university systems in Ghana had led to calls for urgent measures to open up university admissions to accommodate qualified applicants who applied for admission. For example, the total number of students in public universities in Ghana has increased steadily over the last two decades (between 1990 to 2008 academic year). According to Effah (2003, 2005), student enrollment in universities increased from 11,857 in 1991/1992 to 31, 460 in 1998/1999 academic year while it increased from 69,968 in 2004/2005 to 93,285 in 2006/2007 (UNESCO, 2006). This was due to the high demand for higher education due to the introduction of the Educational Reforms in Ghana in 1987 (Effah, 2005). The total number of students in the public universities in the last five years (2008/2009) was 102,548 in 2008/2009; 107,640 in 2010; and 115,346 in 2011/12 academic year (Ghana Education Service Annual Report, 2008/2009; NCTE, 2012). However, considering the lack of resources in educational technology, staff, and training facilities, the World Bank posited that most sub-Saharan African countries might not be able to meet the demands of higher education for qualified applicants (World Bank, 2010). (see Tables 1 and 2)

Table 1.
Summary of student’s enrollment in public universities (total student population), 2008 – 2010
Name of Institution2008/20092009/2010
University of Ghana, Legon (UG)34,19936,092
Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology (KNUST)23,65924,116
University of Cape Coast (UCC)16,40415,492
University of Education, Winneba (UEW)16,32315,023
University for Development Studies (UDS)10,71215,023
University for Mines & Technology, Tarkwa (UMAT)1,2511,453

Source: National Council for Tertiary Education

Key Terms in this Chapter

AVU: African Virtual University established in 1997 as the first online university in sub-Saharan Africa by the World Bank with its headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya.

Post-Diploma in Education: Degree certificate equal to or equivalent to bachelor degree and conferred by the Universities of Cape Coast and Education, Winneba in Ghana.

Teacher Education: A formal professional teacher education preparation for teachers usually conducted through course work and practice teaching.

Ghana: (formerly Gold Coast) is a country situated on the West Coast of Africa in the Gulf of Guinea.

Distance Education: An educational process where large portions of the teaching is conducted by an instructor who is not physically present in the classroom and technological tools namely audio, video, text, print as well traditional face-to-face instruction are used as instruction.

Higher Education: Education for people above secondary level in Ghana and comprises Polytechnics, Colleges and Universities. It is also considered in many instances as institution of higher learning.

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