President for the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), Rev Isaac Owusu, has called on government and relevant stakeholders to dialogue extensively on development of teachers in the country.
According to him, the dialogue will equip teachers with essential skills to provide optimum learning experience for students. He revealed that as it stands non-politicization of the education sector will make room for profound deliberation on developing progressive policies for teachers.
“I stand to agree that the best way to go is to have a national dialogue, in terms of how the teachers in Ghana can be developed to make the 21st century teachers that will be required. Until the government, parents, teacher unions decides to do away with the entrenched position and come to the table and put in place policies, devoid of any partisan politics, that is where we can have long term planning that can help the development of teachers in Ghana.”Rev Isaac Owusu
Rev Owusu indicated that currently, everybody has taken an entrenched position which is not helping the development of teachers in Ghana. This, he noted, will only impede any form of ingenuity and innovations to developing the teacher.
“If you’re an employer or and employee, and you decide to do your own thing, there’s no way we can come together to have a nice policy that can help develop teachers in Ghana. So, for me, I think that if we will be able to do away with partisan politics and have national dialogue as to how we can develop and make sure that teachers in Ghana are retained without necessarily leaving for greener pasture, it will go a long way to help us.”Rev Isaac Owusu
Marking World Teachers Day today, October 5, 2023, on the theme: ‘The teachers we need for the education we want’, Rev Owusu emphasized that the type of education which will be relevant to the country revolves around providing essentials to teaching and learning experiences.
He explained that although there are teachers in the country, the resources given to them are “woefully inadequate” to meet the international best practices when it comes to the teaching profession.
“Most especially, the teachers who are doing their work in the hard to reach areas, the resources given them are woefully inadequate. So, the teacher will have to always depend on the concept of improvisation and make use of the local materials that are readily available to the teacher to enable him or her to have a better content to give to his or her learners.”Rev Isaac Owusu
Creating safe environment for teachers
Furthermore, Rev Owusu lamented the deplorable conditions teachers are subjected to in the rural areas. He highlighted that teachers on island communities indeed deserve more than they are receiving now.
“As a nation, until we develop an essential policy to give an assurance to the teachers who are working in the rural areas, we will continue to have shortages of teachers at the rural area level. So, it is very important for us as a nation to develop intentional policies to protect and retain the teachers who ply their work at the rural areas. So, I believe that it isn’t just an occasion we are celebrating, that we will all be talking and after 5th October, we’ll go and sleep.”Rev Isaac Owusu
Moreover, Rev Owusu revealed that if government indeed desires to reverse the teacher shortages, it must handle teacher deficits in remote areas. He further explained that until there’s a deliberate policy to motivate and encourage them, no progress will be attained.
“Since 2009, that in the collective agreement, the employer and the employee through their union agreed that every teacher who accepts posting to these rural areas will be given 20% of their core salaries. From 2009 till date, we’ve not been able to honor this nice agreement. So, certainly, no teacher will be willing to go to such areas where there are no teacher amenities.”Rev Isaac Owusu