Don’t gloss over teachers’ problems!!

There was a ceremony yesterday at the UNES­CO Headquarters in Paris, France, to mark World Teacher’s Day, which falls on October 5 every year.

The representative global event to mark World Teachers’ Day 2023 had the theme ‘Recognition and appreciation: The role of teacher prizes in enhancing the status of the profession’.

However, around the world, the occasion to honour teachers and recognise their pivotal role in transforming education and shaping the future of the young generations, focused on the theme ‘The teachers we need for the education we want: The global imperative to reverse the teacher shortage’.

To mark the day in the country yesterday, a Teacher Prize ceremony was held at Ghana Secondary Tech­nical School (GSTS) in Takoradi in the Western Region. (See our story on page 11)

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Though that event was held on the latter theme, we think the award ceremony, by its nature, captured the theme for the Paris event.

We think the two themes point to two important things – the need to prepare teachers by way of training and motivation for them to love to give their all to their chosen profession; and the importance to show appreciation to teachers for their role in the development of the young generation for them to recognise the need to prepare for adulthood and contribute to com­munity, national, regional and global development.

Teachers are trained obviously to acquire knowledge and the skills to impart knowledge to learners.

That training usually builds in the teacher the desire to be committed to his career; and the need to always update his skills and knowledge and as well increase his dedication.

However, whilst on the field, cer­tain situations can make him drop the desire to do more.

These situations include low remuneration; lack of teaching aids; poor school infrastructure; welfare matters like non-payment of health­care bills and allowances relating to use of vehicles; delay in processing certain documents for teachers; attacks from some communities in which they work; and disappoint­ments by politicians and even their own superiors.

This is where we think motiva­tion comes in not only in monetary terms but also the solutions to the challenges.

Yesterday, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s speech at the Teacher Prize ceremony partly focused on the appreciation for teachers and the kind of teachers the country need – quality teach­ers – and what his administration has done and intends to do in the country’s education sector.

Even though he said “Govern­ment is of the firm belief that investing in teachers is paramount in ensuring quality education for all Ghanaian children”, with all apologies, we think he should have gone further to mention some of the things that will go into that investment.

We believe that would have paint­ed a picture that can be relied on to demand accountability in future.

Today, some teachers are leaving the profession because they are frustrated by the challenges, so they need concrete assurances.

We have heard the President of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), Rev. Isaac Owusu, say that for Ghana to have efficient and well-motivated teachers, the Ghana Education Service should pay the 20 per cent gross salary for teachers who accept posting to under-served areas.

We have also heard the Minis­ter of Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, say that even if transfer grants should be paid to ensure that the remotest areas were well served with quality teachers, it would be done to put to rest the shortage of teachers in such areas.

We think teachers’ problems or challenges deserve concrete solu­tions and that must not be glossed over.

That said, we congratulate all teachers around the world, but with special appreciation to Ghanaian teachers, particularly those who won prizes yesterday.

We appeal to all teachers to put in their best, whether they have won awards or not, in order to enjoy the appreciation of the public.

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