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Opinions of Friday, 18 March 2011

Columnist: Akoyam, Felix

Teachers deserve better Mr President

The role of teachers in nation building can never be underestimated. To say teachers have contributed immensely to the development of our dear nation will be an understatement. This is because they train the doctor, lawyer, engineer and all other workers in the formal sector and in fact the MP who takes home a whopping 800 hundred thousand Ghana Cedis at the end of every four years.

A teacher in this country, can teach over 30 years, but will not earn even up to what our MPs are demanding for their monthly wage now, as his end of service benefit. What kind of nation are we building?

Some public servants in Ghana are given free accommodation, official vehicles; huge end of service benefits (Ex-gratia), because these officials are deemed to be performing important state functions. Politicians always regard teachers as indispensable in nation building and yet none of these benefits stated above is been enjoyed by the teacher. Why then do we complain, when over fifty percent of our students fail their final exams?

Don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating for equal salary for teachers with other public servants, but the disparity in teachers’ salaries as compared to other public sector workers is irrational, unfair and inhuman. It seems the quote “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others” as portrayed in George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’ is still been depicted in Ghana.

How do you expect a trained teacher who earns 300 hundred cedis monthly to take good care of his son in the university, his daughter in SHS, his 13 year old son in JHS and also live on the rest of the salary if there will be any?

Gone are the days when people enrolled in teacher training colleges for the love of teaching. Most students now enroll in teacher training colleges as a last resort. Is this what we want to promote at age 54 as a country? I strongly believe that the teacher has been taken for granted for so long and is high time we re-examine how we treat our teachers if we really want to develop.

Ex –president Kuffour will forever be remembered by medical workers especially nurses for the honour and dignity he brought to their profession by transforming their working conditions. President Mills let teachers yet to be born, recall one day, that it was colleague teacher who transmuted their working conditions. I rest my case!

Felix Akoyam

Ghana Institute of Journalism

www.felixakoyam.blogspot.com