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Opinions of Sunday, 5 October 2014

Columnist: Tse, Frederick K. Kofi

An empowered teacher empowers a nation

By: Frederick K. Kofi Tse

“All professionals can boast but the teacher taught them all” is a well-known maxim on the lips of teachers the world over. Indeed, there is no denying the fact that through education, teachers serve as tools for producing the human capital of every nation. Having said this, the dwindling quality of education year after year in Ghana is a cause for great concern and calls for a change in policy and action by all stake holders in education to salvage the trend.

Often, when results of final year students, that is BECE and WASSCE candidates begin to trickle in, the various stakeholders struggle to shed responsibility by apportioning blame to one another but among them the biggest buck stops with the teacher. This is because, the teacher is seen as the fulcrum around whom the wheels of education rotate. Recently, the acting Director-General of the Ghana Education Service said on a radio station that the teacher is the “weakest link” in education.

However, teachers are not often empowered enough to give off their best in the classroom let alone research into their fields to apply their findings.

Our teachers, as presently treated and equipped by successive governments and the Ghana Education Service (GES), are not receiving the best of treatment as they deserve. In fact, the well-worn issues which are often the trigger of frequent strikes are public and not worth repeating. Every year teachers across the pedagogic spectrum lay down their tools citing various challenges, yet, governments only scratch the surfaces of these challenges, icing them with promises.

The GES on the other hand is almost a dysfunctional institution, in that education officers who are paid for doing relatively nothing treat teachers with contempt. Circuit supervisors go and demand bribes from teachers at the expense of correctional monitoring of lessons. When a teacher has a problem with his salary and refuses to grease the palms of IPPD officers, that teacher is left alone to travel to the CAGD in Accra to restore his/her salary. And as Ola Rotimi said, “a man meets his destiny on the way he takes to avoid it” ( The God’s Are Not To Blame). So the teacher goes to realize that bribery is equally inevitable at the CAGD.

Our rural communities, have also become places of intimidation, to teachers. Teachers are threatened, beaten, robbed and in some cases killed on small offences.

The result of all these concerns is that teachers turn out to be demoralized, frustrated and dehumanized. When you pay a teacher a few hundreds of Cedis and put him through the humiliation seen, you will unleash a sullen, uncommitted and a dysfunctional educator with inferiority complex on students.

Governments must work hard to make the teaching profession attractive particularly for the young and talented. The requisite TLMs and policies which make the classroom teacher-friendly should be provided.

The Ministry of Education should liaise with GES to establish periodic workshops for staff of GES to enhance their leadership and human relations competencies. Some Directors who share in the booty of their corrupt subordinates should refrain from such acts.

Finally, chiefs and opinion leaders should help make rural communities safe for teachers so they can give off their best for a better Ghana. Because as said by John Adams, the second President of the United States of America, “No nation’s reconstruction is possible without the active cooperation of the teacher”. Let us all empower our teachers to meet the educational needs of our beloved country. God bless the Ghanaian teacher. God bless Ghana.