Government is rolling out a scheme to give teachers a subsidise loan to build their own houses, says the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
“Through a subsidised loan programme, teachers will be provided with an opportunity to own homes in desired locations in various parts of the country,” he intoned.
He observed that 60 years ago, being a teacher or a pupil teacher was respectable and fulfilling and the teacher could build a decent house with his or her salary alone.
Unfortunately, he noted, “we cannot imagine such a scenario for today’s qualified teachers or even teachers nearing retirement, and this is not good enough”.
The President was addressing the sixth Quadrennial National Delegates Conference of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), in Kumasi on Tuesday.
The week-long conference was under the theme, “Surviving as a reliable and vibrant teacher union in the 21st Century.”
It coincided with the cutting of a cake to celebrate 90 years of GNAT.
He said government was committed to the development of affordable housing for teachers across the nation and the current initiative would involve the provision of housing for both mortgages and mentors.
The President mentioned that the Education Ministry and the National Service Scheme were working on that, adding that the Ministry of Works and Housing and the teacher unions including the GNAT were in talks to provide more housing opportunities for teachers.
“Next two years,” he pointed out, “10,000 housing units on affordable terms will be developed for teachers across the country. This is a tip of the iceberg, but it is a good beginning”.
Stressing that government was committed to improving circumstances of teachers, he noted that teaching should not be seen as a stopgap or job of last resort the fact is, “teaching is a viable choice to enter a world of respectful profession with positive long term career prospects and good manifests”.
According to the President, modern successful nations with experience of extraordinary results in the formation of human capital and economic development had shown that teacher quality was, perhaps, the single most determinant of their success.
“And, for us in Ghana, to also make a success, we must pay attention to teachers…it is only a group of well-trained and motivated teachers who can deliver a skilled workforce required to transform the economy,” he emphasized.
The President viewed that through the implementation of the Free Senior High School policy, government was ensuring that value was being added to the intellect of every Ghanaian child.
And, “this is our surest way of succeeding in adding value to the Ghanaian economy thereby helping to create acceptable well-paid jobs for the young people of the country”.
President Nana Akufo-Addo mentioned that the public expenditure on education had doubled from GHc20.7 billion between 2013 and 2016 to GHc 40.4 billion between 2017 and 2020 representing some 95 per cent.
He called on teachers to help build a new Ghanaian civilisation for prosperity and development underpinned by creativity, innovation, hardwork, honesty, integrity and fellow feeling.
Reverend Prof. Emmanuel Adow Obeng, President of the Presbyterian University College, who delivered the keynote address, earlier observed that GNAT had lost its negotiation power because “it has become politically tainted and all members are politically aligned”.
He asked GNAT to position itself so that the Association’s expertise must be sought for before decisions were made.
Rev. Prof. Adow Obeng, however, commended GNAT for becoming a formidable teacher union after years of struggle.
FROM KINGSLEY E.HOPE, KUMASI