GHANA NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF TEACHERS
ADDRESS BY MS. PHILIPPA LARSEN, NATIONAL PRESIDENT OF GNAT AT THE LAUNCH OF GNAT WEEK/WORLD TEACHERS’ DAY CELEBRATIONS AT THE GNAT HEADQUARTERS ON TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2018
Theme: “The right to education means the right to a qualified teacher”
Colleague National Officers and our cherished members present
General Secretary and his staff
Our friends from the Media
Ladies and Gentlemen
It is a pleasure being with you again to launch this year’s GNAT Week/World Teachers Day Celebrations. The Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) every year, collaborates with the Ministry of Education to commemorate this very important day in the life of the teacher. This year, the National Teaching Council (NTC) has been mandated to team up with the Education Ministry to organize the event.
Annually, the World Teachers Day is held on October 5, globally. In Ghana, the National Durbar will be held at the Presbyterian Boys Senior High School (PRESEC), Legon. The day is celebrated to highlight the important role teachers play in developing nations across the globe and the recognition and appropriate compensation due them.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the right to education had been recognized as a human right in a number of international conventions.
It includes a responsibility to provide basic education for individuals who have not completed primary education. In addition to these access to education provisions, the right to education encompasses the obligation to avoid discrimination at all levels of the educational system, to set minimum standards and to improve the quality of education.
WHY A QUALIFIED TEACHER?
The theme for this year’s celebration of the World Teachers Day, “The Right to Education means the right to a qualified teacher” is very appropriate in view of the fact that qualified teachers are able to facilitate learning through the use of formative strategies in class and know when to step back to allow for pupils’ reasoning, application and self-discovered independent learning to occur. This, an untrained teacher cannot do.
Since learning is not just limited to knowledge acquisition, for effective learning to occur, learners need to be equipped with appropriate skills, which means they need to know how to learn in order to be fully successful, hence the need for a qualified teacher in the classroom.
Our Media friends, Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, it is instructive to note that these skills I am talking about are developed through classroom interactions and classroom dialogues by trained professionals whose aim is not just to impart or introduce knowledge or new material, but to ensure that learning at a deeper level takes place and progress is made by individual students. We maintain that, teacher effect on learning is huge and sight must not be lost of this fact.
GNAT WEEK CELEBRATION
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, 18 years ago, the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) instituted another event dubbed, “GNAT WEEK” which our members celebrate in all the regions and districts prior to the national event on October 5.
The objective of this WEEK celebration is to sensitize our members to the activities of the Association and also usher them into the mood of celebrating the World Teachers Day. In line with this objective therefore, a series of activities have been lined up to commemorate the event.
Some of the activities for this year include: Radio discussions on the global theme of the World Teachers Day, Inter District Quiz competitions, Inter Local fun games, Health Screening, clean up exercises, route marches, symposia and presentations on New Educational Policies, among others.
GNAT ASSISTS THE NEEDY
As part of the celebration of the World Teachers Day (WTD), the GNAT every year, assists fifty (50) Needy school children in the host region with the provision of school attire, school bags, canvas boots, textbooks and stationery to serve as a motivation to go to school. There is an innovation this year regarding the textbooks. Instead of the textbooks being dropped in the bags of the beneficiaries of GNAT’s largesse, this time round, the two schools from which the 50 pupils were chosen will each be presented with a pack of Supplementary Readers and Simplified English for schools to be kept in their libraries for the use of the pupils. GNAT’s object of doing this is to help improve reading among the pupils.
The rural schools from which the needy children were chosen are:
Huapa D/A Basic School in the Shai-Osudoku District and Dorgobom D/A Basic in the Ada West District.
Ladies and gentlemen, in addition to assisting the Needy school children, another school in a deprived area of the host region has been selected by GNAT to be assisted to meet its most pressing need.
The 4-classroom Nursery Block of the Manhean Community Primary School in the Tema Municipality is to benefit from the installation of doors, windows, ceiling and cementing the dusty floors to bring comfort to both teachers and the pupils and improve teaching and learning in the school.
The GNAT remains committed to contribute its quota to ensure that both teachers and learners find themselves in an atmosphere that promotes sound academic work.
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, as we gravitate towards the celebration of the World Teachers Day, the Association wishes to take this opportunity to express our views on some key national issues.
TEACHER LICENSURE EXAM
The Ghana National Association of teachers (GNAT) wishes to state that, it is not opposed to the Teacher Licensure exam organized by the National Teaching Council (NTC), the body mandated by law to ensure that teachers in the country are licensed to ply their trade. We, however, express concern about the rush to get the examination conducted without enough stakeholder consultation and sensitization of the teachers who are to write the exanimation. Just as exams like BECE and WASSCE have syllabuses guiding both teachers and students, the NTC should have come out with the form the examination was going to take and any other related information to get the teachers well informed and prepared for the exam. No teacher is afraid to write any examination, but we consider it unfair to deny the examinees what to expect prior to the examination.
In order to forestall this situation repeating itself next year, the GNAT consulted with the Minister of Education who has agreed to a stakeholder meeting before the end of October, 2018 to develop a framework for the conduct of the licensure examination, going into the future.
Ladies and gentlemen, we are sad to state that, as we speak, Government still owes some teachers in arrears. The Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) has been holding discussions with Government on the way forward on this issue. There are however, positive indications that about ten thousand teachers are to be paid their arrears within the next two weeks.
THE SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL DOUBLE TRACK SYSTEM
Our Media friends, ladies and gentlemen, the GNAT is not against the Government’s introduction of the double track system in some of the public Senior High Schools to absorb the increasing number of its Free Senior High School (SHS) Policy.
We however, note that there will not be enough teachers to stand the pressure that is very likely to accompany the double track system and urge Government to speed up the recruitment of its promised about 8,000 additional teachers to augment the number of teachers in the Senior High Schools.
In our view, it will be impossible for the current number of tutors in SHS to handle the double track system.
Ladies and gentlemen, on this note, it is my singular honour and pleasure to declare this year’s GNAT WEEK and World Teachers Day celebrations duly launched.
Dated: Tuesday, 25th September, 2018