“So great has this government’s commitment to education been that public expenditure on education has almost doubled from twenty billion, seven hundred million cedis (GH¢20.7 billion) between 2013 and 2016, that is in the Mahama era, to forty billion, four hundred million cedis (GH¢40.4 billion) between 2017 and 2020, that is in the Akufo-Addo era, representing an increase of some ninety-five per cent (95%).”
These were the words of the President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, on Tuesday, 4th January 2022, when he delivered a speech at the 6th Quadrennial National Delegates Conference of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, in Kumasi.
Addressing the gathering at the event, President Akufo-Addo noted that
GNAT is what it is today because of the work of its past and current
membership and leadership, and he assured that, under his administration, the work is undertaken by the membership and leadership of the Association will not be in vain.
The President, thus, used the opportunity to thank all teachers in the country for the work they did, and continue to do, in ensuring that the education of Ghanaian children, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, has
not been truncated.
“Continuous assessment, the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) and the West Africa Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE) have all been written by thousands and thousands of students, under your care and guidance, in conditions of safety and orderliness, and without incident. The nation is extremely appreciative of these acts of selflessness and patriotism,” he said.
According to President Akufo-Addo, his vision of a modern, competitive, Ghanaian economy, spearheaded by indigenous entrepreneurs, with productive employment for the great majority of its citizens requires skilled economic actors, and to get there, the nation needs an educated workforce.
“Through the implementation of the Free Senior High School policy, we are ensuring that value is being added to the intellect of every Ghanaian child. This is our surest way of succeeding in adding value to the
Ghanaian economy, thereby helping to create acceptably, well-paying jobs for the young people of our country,” he said.
The President continued, “For us, in Ghana, also to make a success of our nation, we must pay attention to teachers. It is only a group of well trained and motivated teachers that can help deliver the educated and skilled workforce we require to transform our economy and nation”.
Outlining the many initiatives implemented by Government since 2017, he stated that his government has restored, since coming into office five years ago, and continues to pay, teacher trainee allowances, which were abolished by the previous administration.
“In addition to the yearly average increase in salaries over the last five (5) years, my government is, for the first time in our nation’s history, paying a professional allowance to teachers. We have abolished the three (3) months’ pay policy for teachers, we have cleared the arrears, and promotions due teachers have also been affected,” he said.
Through a subsidised loan programme, President Akufo-Addo indicated those teachers will be provided an opportunity to own houses in desired locations in various parts of the country, stating that the Ministry of Education is working with the National Service Scheme on this.
In addition, the Ministry of Works and Housing is in discussion with teacher unions to provide more housing opportunities for teachers.
“Within the next two years, it is proposed that ten thousand (10,000) housing units on affordable terms will be developed for teachers across the country. This, as we all know, is the tip of the iceberg, but it is a good
beginning,” he added.
Touching on the vexed issue of laptops for teachers, President Akufo-Addo was glad the supply of laptops was appreciated by teachers and promised that the other related matters of concern will be addressed.
“Good relations between GNAT and my government are matters of importance to me, and I will do my best to promote such relations,” he added.
Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Ignatius Baffuor Awuah appealed to the teacher unions to use the 4-day meeting not only with ways of improving the working and living conditions of workers and staff but also to suggest solutions to fast track the economy.
For his part, Dr Yaw Adu-Twum, the Minister of Education, who labelled the President as the promise keeper highlighted several improvements in the educational sector including free SHS.
He used the occasion to reiterate the announcement that TVET education would be free for students enrolled on the NVTI and other curricula.
By: Isaac Clottey