A STATEMENT FROM THE UNIONS IN EDUCATION AT THE COMMEMORATION OF 2018 WORLD TEACHERS’ DAY ON FRIDAY, OCTOBER 5, 2018 AT THE PRESEC SCHOOL PARK, LEGON, ACCRA
- His Excellency, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Head of State of the Republic of Ghana
- Honourable Ministers of State
- Director General of the Ghana Education Service
- Heads of Unions in Education
- Distinguished Award Winners
- Our Guests
- Ladies and Gentlemen
On behalf of the Unions in Education, I wish to extend our warmest compliments to all of you who have gathered here in solidarity with teachers in this country.
This day has been set aside since 1994 to celebrate the teaching profession and to acknowledge those who have been making tireless efforts to help generations of learners realize their hopes and dreams through learning.
The theme for this year’s World Teachers Day, “The Right to Education means the Right to a Qualified Teacher”, was chosen to mark the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), where education is recognized as a key fundamental right.
Education, as we all know, is not a privilege. It is a human right. And when we say this, we mean that, education is legally guaranteed for all without any discrimination. It also means that states have the obligation to protect, respect and fulfil the right to education. Qualified teachers, we dare say, are fundamental to the right to education.
Your Excellency, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, we wish to draw attention to 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.
We therefore, wish to appeal to the Ghana Education Service (GES) to prioritize the employment of qualified teachers in our schools, especially at the basic level to lay a solid foundation for our children to build on as they climb up the academic ladder. We believe that, any attempt by the teacher’s employer to fill our schools with unqualified teachers will jeopardize the academic future of our young ones who will take over from us.
THE DOUBLE TRACK SYSTEM
Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, the Unions in Education would like to state that, we are not averse to the Government’s introduction of the double track system in some of our Senior High Schools(SHS) to absorb the increasing number of its free Senior High School policy. We commend Government for introducing it to save the situation that arose with huge numbers of students eager to access education at the secondary level.
We however, have concerns about inadequate infrastructure in our Senior High Schools and the fact that there are not enough teachers to stand the pressure that is very likely to accompany the double track system.
The Unions in Education therefore, urge Government to fast track the recruitment of its promised over 8,000 additional teachers to augment the number of teachers in our Senior High Schools. We wish to add that, pragmatic measures must also be put in place to ensure a steady improvement in the infrastructural facilities in these schools across the country to ensure that within the time frame promised by Government, the double track system will be done away with and enough infrastructure will be witnessed in all Senior High Schools to allow for the normal intake of students.
Going forward, we also urge Government to ensure that the recruitment of teachers is done early before next academic year begins to guarantee uninterrupted teaching and learning in our Senior High Schools.
Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, we have information to the effect that, the Controller and Accountant General’s Department is preparing Supplementary Vouchers to pay the over 10,000 teachers whose salaries and promotion arrears have been validated for payment. The Unions in Education call on Government to fast track the payment of the remaining teachers before the end of the year to wipe the tears off their eyes to celebrate Christmas with joy with their families.
GNAT ASSISTS THE NEEDY
Mr. Chairman, Your Excellency, Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, GNAT continues with its tradition of lending a helping hand to the less privileged each year in the region which hosts the National Durbar of the World Teachers Day.
In pursuance of our tradition therefore, this year, the Ghana National Associational of Teachers (GNAT) is assisting fifty (50) Needy School Children in Greater Accra 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 Nursey Block of the Manhean Community Primary School in the Tema Municipality is to benefit from the installation of doors, windows, ceiling and cementing of dusty floors to bring comfort to both teachers and the pupils and improve teaching and learning in the schools.
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.
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, I wish to, on behalf of the Unions in Education, congratulate our hardworking award winners for making us proud.
They won their awards on merit and it shows their dedication to duty in spite of the numerous challenges we face in our noble profession.
Before I resume my seat, I would like to humbly ask His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Ghana, to present a school bag to a pupil on our behalf.
Ms. Philippa Larsen
(National President, GNAT)
On behalf of the Unions in Education
Dated: October 5, 2018