For the second time running Ghana has been shortlisted to compete for the Global Teacher Prize, a US$1 million award presented annually to an exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to his/her profession.
The Global Teacher Prize, which is awarded by the Varkey Foundation, has received thousands of applications and nominations in 2019 and the Daily Graphic is thrilled by the criteria for selection, which include: employing effective instructional practices that are replicable and scalable to influence the quality of education globally, employing innovative instructional practices that address the particular challenges of the school, community or country and which have shown sufficient evidence to suggest they could be effective in addressing such challenges in a new way.
Other yardsticks include achieving demonstrable student learning outcomes in the classroom, as well as helping children become global citizens through providing them with a values-based education that equips them for a world where they will potentially live, work and socialise with people from many different nationalities, cultures and religions.
The rest are improving the teaching profession through helping to raise the bar of teaching, sharing best practice and helping colleagues to overcome any challenges they face in their schools; and teacher recognition by governments, national teaching organisations, teachers, colleagues, members of the wider community or pupils.
As we commend the foundation for the institution of the prize, we also congratulate Mr Robert Gbari Gariba of the Richard Akwei School in Accra on being shortlisted among the top 50 finalists within the strict challenging criteria.
We see this as a good sign for Ghana, as it puts the country on the global map and has an impact on education in the country.
But we can say without any equivocation that Ghana has many Garibas around the country who are doing their best to raise future leaders and standards that will enhance the life of the country.
We believe if the net were to be cast wider, more of such outstanding teachers would be discovered.
We also note that locally, many exceptional teachers have been rewarded in various award categories over the years.
So when it comes to good teachers, Ghana can boast many, just like any other country.
But the Daily Graphic is concerned that despite the fact that good teachers abound in Ghana, there seems to be a disconnect between such effective teachers and educational outcomes.
Just about four years ago in 2015, Ghana, together with five African countries, was ranked poorly in a global school ranking conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
We, however, think that with the calibre of teachers that we have, Ghana can better utilise its teachers to achieve socio-economic development.
We need to tackle the critical issues that militate against teaching and learning in our schools to make the best of our teachers.
On this note, we task the Ghana Education Service to strengthen its supervision of instruction because proper organisation and execution can lead to advancement in educational standards.
We cannot overlook the role of teaching-learning materials (TLMs) in the whole teaching-learning process.
But the observation is that most of the time apart from teachers on internship and those being supervised for promotion, many do not bother to use TLMs in their teaching.
We think that as teachers try to do their best by improvising some of the TLMs, the educational authorities must endeavour to provide those that teachers cannot provide from their meagre resources.
If all these and other inputs are made available, we are certain Ghana can improve on its education to receive more recognition globally.