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Opinions of Saturday, 16 November 2013

Columnist: Agyemang, Katakyie Kwame Opoku

A Letter to the Director-General of GES

A Letter to the Director-General of Ghana Education Service (GES), Ms. Naana Biney

Dear Madam,

I write this letter in appreciation for your explanation to the ban on teacher recruitment, and also to highlight key problems that have emanated as a result of your directive. It would be recalled that on September 25, 2013, I called you, Ms Benedicta Naana Biney on the phone and wanted to know the rationale for the current ban on teacher recruitment.

I must say that you did well in engaging me in that conversation, though I was not fully convinced with your explanation. From your explanation, it occurred to me that whilst you're doing your best in solving one educational problem, in this case eliminating "ghost names" from the government's payroll, a similar problem, if not a bigger one, is being created alongside without your knowledge. It is thus imperative for me to bring it to your attention for prompt action.

Ms. Biney, permit me to use this medium to commend you for your resolve in streamlining the biometric registration of teachers to eliminate ghost names; distribute teachers equally to schools; and know the teacher strength in the country. Admittedly, the action is a very good initiative by your outfit to check wastage of government revenue.

However, what I found very disturbing was your inability to specify the end of this important exercise to pave way for the ban to be lifted. That is my worry. It is my worry because, several schools are still without teachers and this ban is directly affecting teaching and learning in the affected schools.

For me, I wouldn't have had any problem, if the ban was limited to non-professional teachers. This is because, they are simply not trained teachers and as a result cannot enter the teaching profession without formal training. In other professions like Medicine, Engineering, Legal etc, hardly could anybody just practise it, because the person has completed the university. Therefore, I don't subscribe to the idea of SHS graduates, and those from tertiary institutions using the teaching profession as a stepping stone. It makes teaching lose its professionalism.

However, for the ban to include those who have already been trained as professional teachers by the taxpayer, but left the profession for further studies or other professions (returnee teachers); I don't think the directive is right. The directive is more wrong in the sense that students who completed the University of Education, Winneba this year, filled posting forms, and were issued with appointment letters have all been affected. Their appointment letters have been revoked.

Madam, as an educationist, I do not need to educate you on the significance of professional development to the teaching profession. The government of Ghana has spent the taxpayers' money on our training in the Colleges of Education, and other tertiary institutions. It would therefore amount to another waste of government revenue to keep us in our homes, whilst our knowledge rust, and our school children suffer. Remember, the ban also has the tendency to worsen the unemployment problem in Ghana.

In the light of the above, and on behalf of my affected colleagues, I appeal to you to lift the ban on teacher recruitment without further delay. If even relief could be sought for those for re-engagement, and newly trained teachers from the University of Education, Winneba, as well as the University of Cape Coast for now, it would go a long way in bringing the 60,000 teacher deficit down. In this way, quality education at the basic and secondary education levels would not be far from reality. Your positive response to the above would be very much appreciated. Meanwhile, I expect all affected graduates to contact me for further discussion on our planned press conference on the ban.

Kind regards!

Katakyie Kwame Opoku Agyemang, Asante Bekwai-Asakyiri (Free SHS Ambassador) Official blog: ( 0202471070 : 0264931361 : 0547851100