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Opinions of Saturday, 24 March 2018

Columnist: Osumanu Abubakar

The teacher as a soft target: A letter to Professor Stephen Adei

Prof. Stephen Adei Prof. Stephen Adei

I write this article, as a teacher with a heavy heart, against the backdrop of the statements made by the Good Old Professor Stephen Adei.

Professor Adei simply said as I paraphrase, that government should sack basic school teachers for "incompetence".

One cannot out rightly fault the Old Professor because on the surface, he may be right.
However, in the context of GES, precisely in the arena of teaching, who defines "incompetence"?

What are the indicators of "incompetence"?
Is "incompetence" a cause-effect phenomenon?
These are some of the pressing issues I want to discuss vis-a-vis the Old Professor's effusions against teachers in the country.
The point ought to be made that every terminology is defined in relative terms and Professor's descriptive word "incompetence" cannot be said to be an exception.

The Cambridge Dictionary defines "incompetence" as "noun [ U ] ? UK ( /?n?k?m.p?.t?ns/ US ( /?n?k??m.p?.t??ns/ lack of ability to do something successfully or as it should be done"
From the definition, we have "lack of ability" which has to be examined critically.

Now, lack of ability, in this context, of the teacher, has several factors;
? Lack of/Inadequate Teaching-Learning Materials (TLMs)
You have a country in which provision of TLMs is not a priority compared to hunting teachers for lesson notes. You have a country in which TLMs are sometimes provided at the tail part of the academic term/year when almost all the topics have been covered.

In this case under this circumstance, the teacher will definitely lack the ability to teach well as expected of him/her, consequently translating him into "incompetence", unfortunately.

Professor Adei, was the teacher the government that refused to supply the needed materials for efficiency and diligence to reflect good performance in students?

? You have a situation where teachers have to be chasing their salaries at the CAGD because their salaries are blocked. Mostly, teachers fall victims to blockage of salaries for which reason nobody knows. In one particular year, for three significant months, salaries of teachers and some workers had stopped. I was a victim. I reminisce how traumatic and sad that was. Teachers all over the country were made to form long and meandering queues to be reinstated or if you like, re-engaged in order to be paid. That exercise as a result of some people's sloppiness and poor remuneration and payment management lasted for days, perhaps months. In this situation under this circumstance, how do you want the teacher to perform creditably when they are chasing their salaries? Something they have worked for?

? Poor Living Conditions of some teachers. You live in a country where some teachers have to walk several miles and kilometres to school. Nobody cares about how the teacher gets to the school. Government simply cannot provide motorbikes to such teachers to ease their movement to and from school. In this case, the teacher will be late to school and deliver less because he wants to get back home before night falls. Some teachers are residing in areas bereft of electricity and telecommunication network. Those teachers have to go to the nearby towns and villages to charge their electrical gadgets, make calls and access the Internet for information. Government cannot simply provide the enabling environment for the telcos to widen their coverage for the benefit of all. Government cannot simply provide solar panels for these teachers to make life a bit comfortable for them.
Why won't the teacher lack the ability to perform profitably?

? You live in a country and in an era where some students are simply stubborn and contumacious. I mean there are students who would not attend class at all. Some would come to school and after class the rest is computer games and other non-beneficial activities and nobody cares about it.
In my village, I have been organizing free extra classes for students during vacations. Since I started, I have never registered a population more than ten (10) students. Yes I said ten (10).
You see them roaming about while you have sacrificed to teach for free of charge. It is a sad situation.

In this case, what do you expect again from the teacher? Miracle?
Professor Adei, this is the reality and it unfortunately eluded you. Now the question is, you have risen through the ranks, thread the eye of the needle and have become a Professor, what research paper have you published to heal the woes of the education sector? Or you are a Professor who simply talks by heart (with all due respect)?

Have you ever challenged any government to supply appropriate and relevant TLMs on time?
Have you ever championed a crusade against any government to see to the welfare of teachers in deprived communities?

Have you ever tasked any government to prioritize the provision of TMLs over lesson notes (though most teachers prepare the lesson notes, but don't use in teaching)?

Have you ever championed any sensitization programme on the need for education for parents and students to be well informed?
Professor Adei, there are/were people of your calibre in this country who used and are using their acquired knowledge to help the development of this country in varied ways. Some have propounded meaningful theories, axioms, approaches and methodologies.

Let me just mention two of them for my readers since you know all of them.
One of them was the Good Old Late Professor Francis Allotey. He did a lot of marvelous things with his Mathematics and Science knowledge. He propounded the Allotey Formalism. A theory on Soft X-Ray Spectrocopy. He won an expensive award for that in abroad. Professor Allotey first introduced computer education in Ghana and a lot of things.

The second person is Dr. Konotey Ahulu. He also did wonderful things with his knowledge. He researched into Clinical Haemoglobinopathy and, together with Professors Bela Ringelhann (Hungary), Hermann Lehmann (University of Cambridge), and others he discovered Haemoglobin Korle-Bu and Haemoglobin Osu-Christiansborg. He was also the director of the largest clinic in the world dealing with sickle-cell disease and a lot of things.

Professor Adei, do you see the difference now?
Life is not about shouting from the roof top, it is actually about doing something to heal social woes and your friends in the same arena have outclassed you.

Please save sometime to research into the problems in the GES and publish it. That way, you are putting your professorial prowess to good use, instead of making wild and invective statements without a modicum of real facts and figures.

Thank you.

@ Osumanu Abubakar (2018)
@ 0242782515
@ All Rights Reserved


1. The Cambridge Dictionary