INTERNSHIP EXPERIENCES OF INSTITUTE FOR EDUCATIONAL PLANNING AND ADMINISTRATION (IEPA) STUDENTS OF UNIVERSITY OF CAPE COAST

ABSTRACT
The study explored the internship experiences of the IEPA students, UCC. This was proposed against the backdrop of a dearth of empirical evidence concerning how the internship experiences of IEPA students have prepared them for their professional endeavours. The study was underpinned by the convergent parallel mixed methods design. The study adopted the census approach to research where all individuals in the target study population were studied. In all, data was collected from 50 IEPA students using a self-administered questionnaire which was complemented by 12 interviews with their internship site supervisors. The data from the questionnaire were analysed using descriptive statistics in the form of frequencies. The interview responses were transcribed and analysed thematically. Among other things, the findings suggest that, majority of IEPA students agreed that their internship experiences have helped to enhance their expertise in performing general administrative duties (e.g. filing, writing minutes, memos and letters), human relations skills, communication skills and teamwork skills. Also, majority of the IEPA students indicated that, they did not see a link between their academic preparation (coursework) and most of the administrative tasks they performed. Against this backdrop, it was concluded that perhaps the IEPA’s curricula was not in line with the needs and aspirations of its clientele. In light of these, it was recommended, among other things, that the IEPA should review its curriculum to include courses that will provide students with the needed knowledge in 21st century educational administration practises.


CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
Evidence from student internship literature (for example Geer, Anast-May Gurley, 2014) suggests that many academic internships do not offer the required experiences that successfully prepare students for the world of work. However, the extent to which this assertion, among others, about academic internship apply in the case of the Institute for Educational Planning and Administration (IEPA) students is not known. Hence, this study explored the internship experiences of IEPA students with the view to understand how their intenship experiences have prepared them for their professional endeavours.

Background to the Study
Any country’s capacity to compete in today’s global knowledge economy depends on whether its educational institutions can meet the rapidly growing demand for high-level skilled human resource (Schleicher, 2006). That is to say, the role of educational institutions in producing the needed personnel to resource industries is very crucial to national development. In line with this reasoning, the President of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in a speech made at the 50th anniversary of the Association of African Universities in Accra asserted that universities are key partners in national development since they play a central role in human resource development (Myjoyonline, 2017). Undoubtedly, all sectors of any country’s economy, like that of Ghana, depends on higher educational institutions (i.e. Universities) for the training and development of their human resource. This makes higher educational institutions in today’s 21st century more relevant to the socio-economic development of every nation. Lepak and Snell (1999) forcefully argue that, the life blood of every organisation is its human resources hence institutions charged with the responsibility of training and developing this human resource have no option than to strive towards producing the right personnel for the job market. This obvious task, places more responsibility on educational institutions specifically its managers (administrators) than ever before.

Ultimately, educational administrators are generally expected to work towards increasing students’ success by creating effective teaching, learning and social environment; increasing students’ and teachers’ motivation; and improving relationships between various key stakeholders in education (Dos & Savas, 2015). In view of the crucial nature of the roles and responsibilities of educational administrators, the focus on their skills, abilities and the quality of academic programmes that prepares them, has been more intense recently (Davis & Darling-Hammond, 2012). Thus, the call on training institutions to churn out competent educational administrators is brought to the front burner of education in recent times.

According to Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), as cited by Tawiah (2017), the essence of successful instruction and good schools comes from the thoughts and actions of professional teachers who are led by an effective educational leader (administrator). According to Tawiah, educational administrators are the drivers of the teaching and learning process in schools, hence their training must be very comprehensive. He advised that, institutions mandated to train educational administrators, like the Institute for Educational Planning and Administration (IEPA), must not only focus on imparting theoretical knowledge but must also equip students with the required practical administration experience. Along the same line of thinking, Abraham Lincoln is noted for saying “if I had six hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend the first four hours sharpening the axe” (Pinola, 2011, para. 1) just to make sure efficiency is achieved. This analogy by Lincoln resonates with the resolve by Ghana, through the Ministry of Education, to prioritise the training of educational administrators, an enterprise in which IEPA is a key stakeholder.

Historically, in the 1970s, the educational system in Ghana had become extraordinarily complex and required educationist with expertise in administration and planning to enable the sector play its full role in national development (University of Cape Coast, 2016, p. 1). Consequently, the Government of Ghana and UNESCO/UNDP in August 1975, then established IEPA in the University of Cape Coast (Owusu & Dzinyela, 1994) to be responsible for training educational administrators and planners at all levels of education in Ghana. The IEPA has a mandate to provide broad-base professional training in educational management and administration, and to equip students with requisite skills for meeting the leadership challenges facing educational institutions in Ghana and elsewhere (University of Cape Coast, 2016). This mandate is in line with the main goal of higher education which is to prepare and equip students for future and modern working environment and career (Efua, William, Tackie-Ofosu, & Koranteng, 2016). Specifically, the IEPA is mandated to provide innovative and quality education aimed at improving leadership, managerial and planning capabilities of personnel in the educational sector in Ghana, by raising their levels of competence and involvement in their areas of operations (IEPA, 2017).

IEPA in pursuit of its mandate, runs postgraduate programmes such as PhD in Qualitative Research, M.Phil. in Administration in Higher Education, M.Phil. in Educational Planning and M.Phil. in Educational Administration.

Among the various courses designed by IEPA to train its M.Phil. students to become effective and efficient educational administrators and planners, is its internship programme. According to Taylor (1988, p. 393) an internship is defined as a “structured and career-relevant work experiences obtained by students prior to graduation from an academic programme”. Internship is seen by Hurst and Good (2010) as a form of apprenticeship which, to them, has been in existence for thousands of years. Internship is defined as a phase of professional preparation in which a student who is nearing the completion of his formal study works in the field for a considerable block of time under the supervision of a practitioner and a university professor for the purpose of developing the students’ competence (Bukaliya, Region, & Marondera, 2012). Internship can also be referred to as field attachment.

According to Tackett, Wolf and Law (2001, as cited in Bukaliya, Region, & Marondera, 2012), internships have taken on an increasingly central role in education over the past decade. Tackett et al. (2001) claim that internship present students with many benefits, ranging from gaining practical experience and obtaining career-related direction to networking with other students from various institutions during the period of internship. They further claim that for those who have undertaken internships, there is an increased likelihood of them securing employment. According to Jamison and Clayton (2016), designing and providing internship opportunities where interns engage in active administrative and leadership roles in new settings and environments will contribute to and enhance the self-efficacy of students. Similarly, it is believed that interns also bring diverse talents to host organisations which lead to innovations (Lam & Ching, 2007).

In practice, the IEPA students after completing their first-year course work are mandated to arrange with institutions, preferably in the educational sector, for their internship. After a student has arranged with a preferred institution, an introductory letter is then obtained from their internship coordinator which is then sent to the host organisation. The duration for the IEPA internship programme currently is six weeks. After the completion of the internship, each student is required to submit a report to the IEPA internship coordinator for assessment purposes. Alarmingly, according to a study by Lam and Ching (2007), a significant number of interns, in their report to their internship coordinators, falsify and fabricate information about their internship experiences with the intention of getting good grades. This awful behaviour by some students is noted by Lam and Ching to have blurred some internship coordinators’ insight into the impact of their internship programme. For Geer, Anast-May and Gurley (2014), many academic internships do not offer the experiences that successfully prepare students for the world of work. Nevertheless, the extent to which these claims about the internship experiences of students are true in the case of IEPA students, still remains anecdotal. It is against this background that this study was conducted to explore the internship experiences of IEPA students specifically through the lens of both the students and their site supervisors. An insight into their internship experiences, is needful in helping the IEPA to, among other things, appreciate and/or identify any lapses in the internship programme that may necessitate a possible restructuring of the programme so as to ensure and assure the needed experiences for future interns.

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Item Type: Ghanaian Project Material  |  Attribute: 130 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Price: GH50  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.
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