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General News of Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Source: GNA

Education Ministry sets up desk to deal with teacher union issues

Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, Minister of Education Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, Minister of Education

The Ministry of Education has established a desk at the Ministry to receive issues relating to teacher unions in the country for redress.

The desk would deal with issues affecting the unions in the educational sector, including teacher’s allowances, welfare, and other important challenges affecting the growth of education in the country.

Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, the Minister of Education, said this on Tuesday at the launch of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) 90th anniversary in Accra, on the theme: “Surviving as a Reliable and Vibrant Teacher Union in the 21st Century.”

He said the government was committed to paying allowances and other benefits due to teachers on time to encourage them to give off their best and improve teaching and learning in schools.

“When teachers go on strike to demand what is due them, it affects the progress of learning. What is worrying is that government later pays the money but the lost period during the strike could not be accounted for.”

In doing a cost-benefit analysis, the Minister said it was prudent that teachers received their benefits on time to avoid these challenges, which hinder the smooth administration of effective teaching in schools.

He expressed concern about the gaps in the educational performance of the Northern and Southern sector and called for a stakeholder discussion to ameliorate the challenges.

“The wide gap between the rural and the urban areas by creating a level playing field for the underserved schools to be competitive. This will need to be addressed by both government and the stakeholders to ensure holistic growth in the teaching space.”

He underscored the importance of the teaching profession in the development of the nation, stressing that teachers were the mentors of children and serve as change agents in the lives of students to be responsible citizens.

President Akufo-Addo in the State of the Nations Address said the government had increased enrolment into the tertiary level to create access to education.

The government, in the 2021 Budget Statement to Parliament, said it had completed 539 out of 1,119 Senior High School infrastructure projects.

It has also completed 28 Community Day SHSs (E-Blocks) under the Secondary Education Improvement Programme and invested a chunk of resources to increase access, expand infrastructure and improve the quality of Technical and Vocational Education and Training.

The Minister said the government would continue to invest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics to create a critical component to helping the country to focus on critical thinkers, increase science literacy, and enable the next generation of innovators.

Mr Ignatius Baffour-Awuah, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, urged GNAT to explore more opportunities by using their assets for collateral to secure loans and reposition the association to create wealth.

This, he said, was critical because teachers were the cornerstone of the development of any nation, and urged them to continue to work for the growth of the educational sector.

Mrs Philippa Larsen, the President of GNAT, reaffirmed the association’s commitment to institute programmes to ensure the association remain relevant in the 21st century and to continue to collaborate with the government to meet the needs of members.

She said the association would revitalize the “GNAT Youth Policy” to give hope to young teachers.