The Minister for Education, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, has disclosed that the NPP government under the visionary leadership of H.E. President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has done more to better the lot of teachers than any government in the fourth republic.
According to him, the government recognizes that the teacher is the fulcrum around which quality education is delivered, and therefore every serious conversation about quality education must be held with the teacher at the centre of affairs. It is in recognition of this fact that teacher motivation and welfare are at the heart of the government’s educational policies and interventions.
Napo, as he is affectionately called, made this disclosure when he took his turn at the Ministry of Information’s Nation Building Update on Thursday, October 29, 2020, at the College of Physicians and Surgeons in Accra, on the topic: The Teacher at the Centre of Quality Education.
He used the occasion to mention some of the teacher-related interventions and other laudable policies implemented by the NPP government to advance the cause of Ghanaian teachers and enhance their livelihoods.
On teacher training, Hon Matthew Opoku Prempeh, mentioned among other things, the full restoration of teacher trainee allowance; restoration of the Book and Research allowance; restoration of the allowance of Arabic instructors; prompt payment of feeding grants for teacher trainees; upgrading of Teacher Training Colleges from ‘Cert A’ awarding institutions into Diploma and later, into Degree awarding institutions; abolishing the payment of utility bills by students including teacher trainees; increasing enrolment at Colleges of Education despite the restoration of trainee allowance; the constant review of the teacher education and training curriculum to make it more responsive to contemporary needs;
He also added the development of the national teaching standards, introduction of quality assurance and accreditation system for all the Colleges of Education, migrating all teachers at the Colleges of Education to the Public University Salary structure, setting up of a dedicated University, the Appiah Minkah University of Skill Training and Entrepreneurial Development to deal only with matters of TVET; development of a comprehensive career path-way for teachers as well as the professionalization of the teaching profession in line with international best practices and standards to make them globally competitive many others.
The Education Minister disclosed that the Akufo-Addo government had recruited over 93,720 teachers in the past three and half years. He also said that, financial clearance had been given for the recruitment of additional of 6,500 teachers, which process will begin from Monday, November 2, 2020. He also said government had decentralized teacher recruitment and management by ensuring that since 2017, teacher recruitment and documentations were done at the Regional and District levels.
Government, according to him, has streamlined the cumbersome promotion regime for duly qualified teachers thereby making it very easy for teachers who are due for promotion to go through the process of receiving their promotions. Equally, the waiting period for teachers who upgrade their qualification has been halved to two years.
Hon. Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh used the occasion to expose the many inconsistencies of John Mahama through newspaper and news headlines which portrayed him as someone who has no principles and therefore cannot be trusted by well-meaning Ghanaians. He mentioned the inconsistent positions of John Mahama on the Teacher Licensure Exams, which his government introduced in 2016; John Mahama’s inconsistent positions on teacher trainee allowance which he cancelled and now claims he will restore if voted for.
The Minister also mentioned John Mahama’s inconsistent positions on the Free SHS policy, where in one breath, he says Free SHS was not feasible and that it would collapse Ghana’s educational system, yet in another breath, he comes to say that he [John Mahama] introduced Free SHS. Napo also exposed John Mahama’s inconsistent positions on job creation where in one breath he says he would create 3 million jobs and in another he says he is not a magician to create jobs among others.
The Manhyia South MP also spoke about the abolishment of the killer three month pay policy introduced by the John Mahama administration where teachers who worked for years were paid for only three months. This applied mainly to newly recruited teachers who were compelled to teach in some cases for three years without receiving a penny for their services, and when government eventually decides to pay them, they were paid only three month salary.
Dr. Opoku Prempeh said, not only has the Akufo-Addo government cancelled this insensitive and draconian policy and paying teachers promptly, but has also successfully cleared over 90% of all the legacy arrears in respect of teachers who suffered this unjust fate.
The Minister of Education took time to talk about some of the policies of this government meant to enhance the status of the teaching profession including the payment of professional teachers allowance for all pre-tertiary teachers for the first time in the nation’s history; the prompt payment of teacher responsibility allowance; the signing of the collective bargaining agreements/certificates for the teacher unions (which had expired since 2011) detailing the conditions of service for all teachers; restoration of teacher vehicle maintenance allowance among others.
The Minister concluded that, these interventions and teacher-related policies of the NPP government ensured that Ghana drastically improved its ranking world ranking in respect of countries that respected teachers and did more for teachers according to the 2020 survey conducted by Global Teacher Status Index Group which findings were released on October 22, 2020.
According to the survey, Ghana was the second country in the world, only second to China when it comes to addressing teacher concerns and wellbeing. He added that, last year , a Ghanaian won the Africa Teacher Prize whereas two of our teachers have been in the top global fifty teachers under His Excellency President Akufo-Addo.
“So, if, in the last four years, the Ministry of Education says that we don’t see teacher strikes as we used to see them, it is because the teacher unions themselves know that what we are doing for teachers had never existed in the country called Ghana”, the Education Minister who is also the MP and NPP Parliamentary Candidate for the Manhyia South Constituency in the Ashanti Region observed.