World Teachers’ Day- A statement from Ghana Teachers Union

A STATEMENT FROM THE UNIONS

IN EDUCATION AT THE COMMEMORATION OF 2012 WORLD TEACHERS’ DAY ON FRIDAY, OCTOBER 5, 2012 AT THE JUBILEE PARK, KUMASI, ASHANTI REGION.

  • Mr. Chairman
  • His Excellency, President John Dramani Mahama, Head of State of the Republic of Ghana
  • Honourable Ministers of State
  • Director-General of the Ghana Education Service
  • Heads of Unions in Education
  • Directors of Education
  • Distinguished Award Winners
  • Invited Guests
  • Colleagues
  • Ladies and Gentlemen:

On behalf of the Unions in Education, I wish to extend our warmest compliments to all of you gathered here in solidarity with teachers in Ghana.
World Teachers’ Day (WTD), held annually on October 5 since 1994, is an important date in the calendar of the entire educational community. It has been set aside to celebrate, honour and support teachers in our effort to transform the lives of our pupils/students at all levels of education.

The theme for this year’s World Teachers’ Day is, “Take a Stand for Teachers”. The theme is a clear call to all stakeholders to honour, celebrate and support teachers in every way possible, to be able to perform at their optimum, as the nation inches towards the attainment of Education for All (EFA) goals by the year 2015.

We wish to throw a challenge to all of us to do a little introspection and answer the question as to what value we place on the teacher and what contribution we make or are prepared to make to ensure that the teacher works in an atmosphere that brings out the best in him.
Ghana should aim at attracting and retaining committed teachers, a situation which calls for the creation of the environments that value professional autonomy and equality.

The Unions in education feel proud on this day as some of our members are going to be awarded for distinguishing themselves in our noble profession in spite of the myriad of problems that confront us as we ply our trade.  Indeed, some of these problems seem insurmountable, yet these gallant teachers were able to brave the odds and are assembled here today to receive various awards.  To all award winners in the various categories, we say, “well done”.

GOVERNMENT COMMENDED
We wish to take this opportunity to commend the government for rolling out interventions to solve some of the numerous problems facing us in the education sector.  Mention can be made of expansion of the school feeding programme, provision of computers to students and teachers to facilitate the teaching and learning of ICT, expansion of school infrastructure and the provision of school uniforms and exercise books, among others.

TEACHER UNIONS’ WORRY
Mr. chairman, Your Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen, it must however, be stated that, at certain times, the Unions in education feel let down when we look at the enormity of the yet-do-be-tackled challenges that confront us in the performance of our duty as teachers. The slow pace at which some of them are being tackled makes us feel very uncomfortable.

We are still faced with infrastructural challenges in the various schools, right from the primary level; accommodation problems facing teachers, especially those in the rural areas; lack of motivation for teachers in underserved areas and of course, problems we encounter with the payment of our salaries every month and a host of others.

ALLOWANCE TO TEACHERS IN DEPRIVED AREAS
The promise given by Government to pay 20% allowance to teachers who accept postings to underserved areas, is yet to materialize.  So far, it has been promise upon promise without Government instituting practical measures to take it off the drawing board.  The Unions in Education have not even been told what the hitches are. This has fueled speculations that, that allowance will never be paid – it will only remain on the lips of our Political Leaders.  We plead with Government to fulfill this promise made to teachers in order to encourage them to accept postings to such areas.  Teachers are waiting.

DELAYS IN PROMOTING TEACHERS
Mr. Chairman, as I speak, there is a backlog of about 30,000 teachers whose promotions have delayed through no fault of theirs.  This situation is very demotivating.  As a nation, if we are talking about quality education delivery, then motivating the teacher should be one of our priority areas.

CLASSROOMS WITHOUT TEACHERS
The Unions in Education have observed that, a good number of classrooms across the country either don’t have certificated teachers or are manned by untrained teachers. This situation clearly compromises quality education delivery.

The mistaken belief that any literate person can teach whether trained or untrained should be discarded in a hurry if, as a nation, we have the welfare of our children at heart.  One needs to study teaching methods (pedagogy), among others, to be able to appropriately impart knowledge, hence, the important of the Colleges of Education.

Let us not forget that, the ultimate beneficiary of the teacher’s output is your child and my child and for that matter, our children who are the future leaders of this country.


CONTINUING PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Mr. Chairman, we believe that, in an effort to find ways of solving this problem of inadequate teachers, care must also be taken to ensure that the quality of teaching and learning is improved.  The Unions in Education therefore, appeal to Government to provide teachers with access to training opportunities and continued professional development.  This one of the surest ways by which we can have quality teachers to man our various classrooms.

We (teachers) need to be supported to fulfill our responsibilities to our students.  We wish to make a special appeal to subsidy for teachers undertaking Distance Education. That  reminds us again of our salaries which we think, must be set objectively and fairly, such that remuneration is commensurate with the importance of the profession.

GNAT PROVIDES FOR THE NEEDY AGAIN
Mr. Chairman, Your Excellency, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, GNAT continues to show love to the less privileged in society.
In this connection, this year, 25 pupils from Akontau D/A Primary School in the Amansie West District and an equal number from Hiawu Besease D/A Primary in the Atwima District, both in the Ashanti Region, will benefit from school uniforms, canvas boots as well as school bags filled with textbooks, exercise books and stationery.  This gesture from GNAT is to motivate the pupils to go to school.

The GNAT also presents Motor Bikes to two (2) of our hardworking Local Secretaries in this region – from Ashaakoko L/A Primary in the Ejura/Sekyedumase District and Nsuta Presby Junior High School in the Sekyere West District.  This is to motivate them in the work they do.  We should be highly honoured if, His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Ghana, does the presentation of the school bags to the pupils and the Motor Bikes to the Local Secretaries on our behalf.

Besides, Mr. Chairman, GNAT has made a donation of GH¢3,500.00 to Bahonkra D/A Primary school in the Sekyere East District of the host region for the purchase of iron sheets and bags of cement for the school’s building project
A special donation in the form of a School Band, footballs and jerseys is to be made to a school in the Greater Accra Region by name, Chinto Primary School, near Dobro to whip up the pupils’ interest in schooling and also taking part in sporting activities.

CONCLUSION
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, I would like to once again, on behalf of the Unions in Education, commend the government for its interventions so far in the education sector.  We hope that Government, being a key stakeholder in education, will heed our plea for more assistance.

Before I resume my seat, I wish to commend all our gallant award winners for the effort they put in to merit the awards. Your achievement is what has brought us here to celebrate with you.
May your joy resonate to the four corners of this country to ginger up our colleagues wherever they are to put in their best in the service of Mother Ghana.
Thank you.

SAMUEL DOE ALOBUIA
(AG. NATIONAL PRESIDENT, GNAT)
ON BEHALF OF THE UNIONS IN EDUCATION

DATED: OCTOBER 5, 2012

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