Minister for Education Dr. Mathew Opoku Prempeh has said the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) has through its teacher-centred interventions done more to cater for the needs of teachers than the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has done in eight years in power.
According to him, the significant investment in the lives of teachers is because the government since assuming office in 2017 has made education a priority and is committed to improving it even beyond its current state.
Addressing the sixth edition of the Nation Building Update in Accra yesterday on the theme “The Teacher at the Centre of Quality Education”, the Education Minister enumerated numerous government interventions that have helped equip teachers to do their best in their line of duty.
“The Akufo-Addo administration has invested and continues to invest in teachers. One of such investment is when the Ministry of Education, in conjunction with the Ministry of Finance, Fair Wages and Salaries Commission and Union leaders signed a collective agreement with teachers’ unions in August 2020 on conditions of service for teachers. This has significantly helped to improve the delivery of teachers and attitude towards work.
“Also, government has introduced a Professional Teacher Allowance of GH¢1,200 per year for the professional teachers and GH¢800 per year for non-professional teachers to complement the already existence allowance packages for our teachers. This will enable teachers to invest in improving and upgrading their skills and keeping abreast with modern trends to assist in improving learning outcomes.
“We have also instituted Professional Development Days (PDD) and Professional Learning Communities (PLC) for teaching staff, where they would take time off work to develop their skills through note comparison,” he added.
The Nation Building Update is a periodic event held under the auspices of the Ministry of Information.
It is part of the government’s efforts to explain its policies and also update the citizenry on the progress report of those policies.
Dr. Opoku Prempeh who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for Manhyia South outlined 23 achievements and interventions of the governing NPP in addressing the plights of teachers in the country.
According to him, when government took office in 2017, the country had a backlog of unemployed graduate teachers as a result of conditionalities imposed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). He said currently, government has cleared the backlog by recruiting 93,724 teaching and non-teaching staff into pre-tertiary institutions across the country with the Ghana Education Service (GES) given clearance to employ a further 27,367 by the end of 2020.
Dr. Opoku Prempeh also mentioned the restoration of the Teacher Training Allowances that was scrapped by the erstwhile Mahama administration.
This, he noted, has improved the conditions of teacher trainees and has contributed to the increased enrollment in Colleges of Education from 44,813 in 2016/17 to 48,085 in 2018/19 despite having the same entry requirements with traditional universities.
The Minister for Education emphasised that education remains top of the Akufo-Addo’s agenda going into his second term that is why the sector has over the years seen significant amount of investment.
One of such investments, Dr Opoku Prempeh pointed out, is the training of high-quality teachers through the National Teacher Education Assessment Policy so as to adequately equip them to teach the new standards-based curriculum in basic schools.