The Akufo-Addo administration has recruited 93,724 teaching and non-teaching staff for the pre-tertiary education sector since 2017 to improve the quality of education in the country.
During the same period, financial clearance was granted for tertiary institutions to recruit a total of 6,178 staff, bringing the total recruitment in the education sector to 99,902.
These figures were disclosed by the Minister for Education, Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh, at a media briefing organised by the Ministry of Information to update Ghanaians on the achievements chalked in the education sector and the way forward amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The recruitment at the pre-tertiary level, Dr Opoku Prempeh explained, comprised 45,170 newly trained teachers, 19,640 limited recruitments, and 6,500 graduate teachers.
A total of 3,232 replacement teachers were also recruited during the period to take over from retiring staff.
Furthermore, 8, 872 double-track teachers were recruited and a total of 10,310 non-teaching staff were employed since 2018.
According to Dr Opoku Prempeh, salaries, allowances and arrears of the most newly recruited staff have been paid to date.
He disclosed that Government has approved a professional allowance of GH¢1,200 for the teaching staff and an amount of GH¢600 as continuous professional development support in addition to a critical support for TEWU members.
Meanwhile, the Government has agreed and aligned with the concerns of teacher unions and has deleted the Decentralization Clauses from the Pre-Tertiary Education Bill before parliament.
In the Tertiary education sector, 6,178 staff have been recruited between 2017 and 2020 with the government approving for post-retirement contracts up until age 70 for professorial grade.
Approval has also been given for post-retirement contract for academic staff of senior lecturer grade to the age of 65.
The Minister explained that a 200% increase in research allowance for lecturers from GH¢500 to GH¢1,500 has also been approved.
Free SHS education policy
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) government led by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo introduced free Senior High School (SHS) education policy, which has been recognized globally as the most significant social intervention introduced in Ghana since independence.
The Akufo-Addo administration saw it as the best way a government could invest and build the capacity of students for the future of the country.
The free SHS programme was implemented in September 2017, in fulfilment of a major campaign promise in the lead up to the 2016 general election.
However, there have been some challenges with classrooms and residential accommodation since the programme took off, forcing the government to subsequently introduce a temporal double-track system.
With this temporal arrangement, the students are divided into two batches with alternating school terms.
Increase in enrolment
Since the free SHS, parents and all well-meaning Ghanaians attest to the fact that the policy is a good and viable one.
Three years into the policy, enrolment in SHSs is reported to have increased to about 69 per cent.
In response to the increase in numbers, the double-track system was introduced as a temporary solution to the growing numbers, while the provision of infrastructure continued.
Ending double track
Government is currently investing in the construction of new infrastructural facilities in SHSs across the country towards ending the double-track system.
The expansion of the infrastructure in all public academic institutions, particularly in SHSs, is to improve access and reduce congestion in the classrooms.
Accordingly, the double-track system is expected to be over in just a few years in all schools when the infrastructure is completed.
This will enable the schools to revert to the single-track system.