Teachers crucial to national development

BY: Daily Graphic
File photo
File photo

The role of teachers, no doubt, is crucial to the overall development of countries, and it is in recognition of this crucial role that, in 1993, there was a global call for governments to make conscious and deliberate efforts to improve on the conditions of teachers.

That call came on the heels of the 1990 Education for All Declaration in Jomtien, Thailand.

Two years after the call, Ghana, on October 5, 1995, decided to institute an awards scheme to commemorate the day and celebrate Ghanaian teachers for the incredible sacrifices they make to educate the younger generation.

October 5 was chosen to reward teachers to coincide with World Teachers Day, set aside every year to recognise teachers for their role in the development of the human capital, a prerequisite for the development of any nation.

The commemoration sought to recognise the gallant contributions of teachers towards the attainment of quality education as Ghana joined the rest of the world to mark World Teachers Day.

The awards scheme has since been in existence, and a fortnight ago, to mark the day, Stella Gyimah Larbi, a teacher at the Adentan Community Junior High School (JHS) in the Greater Accra Region was crowned the 2022 winner of the Ghana Teacher Prize.

For her prize, she received a three-bedroom house worth GH¢300,000, an educational trip to Dubai, promotion and a GETFund scholarship to study abroad.

Fati Issifu, a tutor at the Buipe Senior High Technical School (SHTS) in the Savannah Region, picked the first runner-up prize, while David Harrison Mensah, a teacher at the Sefwi Bekwai SDA JHS in the Western Region was adjudged the second runner-up.

Cash prizes ranging from GH¢8,000 to GH¢15,000, as well as other valuable items, were presented to 10 other deserving teaching and non-teaching staff who distinguished themselves in other categories of the awards.

This is a confirmation that the reward of the teacher is right here on earth and no longer in heaven, as we were made to believe in the past.

The Daily Graphic joins the rest of the nation to congratulate Ms Larbi on standing tall in this year's commemoration of World Teachers Day to honour teachers for their selfless and dedicated services to mankind.

Globally, Ghanaian teachers have earned their rightful place since the Best Teacher Award was rebranded as the Ghana Teacher Prize in 2017.

In 2018, the late Professor Sitsofe Enyonam Anku was selected from over 30,000 teachers to be among the top 50 teachers in the world, while in 2019, Robert Gbari Gariba was shortlisted among the top 50 teachers in the world.

Last year, Evans Odei, a Mathematics teacher of Achimota School in the Greater Accra Region, came close to picking the award when he was selected among the top 10 best teachers in the world.

This shows that even though a Ghanaian teacher is yet to pick the $1-million prize, the performance of Ghanaian teachers at the highest level is something worthy of commendation.

While we celebrate teachers for their achievements, it is important to note that there are some who refuse posting to the rural areas where their services are most needed and rather make their way to schools in the urban areas.

Teachers must accept posting to the rural areas, and we urge the Ghana Education Service to be firm in the posting exercise and defy all forms of pressure from various quarters.

Children in those areas are also Ghanaians who deserve to be taught by teachers. Teachers who decline posting to those areas are not worthy of their calling and should bow their heads in shame, especially when this day is marked.

Meanwhile, the issue of teachers in the rural areas using their pupils as farmhands, when they are supposed to be in the classroom, is a sad development.

The Daily Graphic feels the government has the primary responsibility to put in place incentives and motivation packages for teachers who accept posting to such places.

Incentives such as scholarships for those who accept to stay in those areas continuously for five years, vehicles to ease mobility and promotions over their urban counterparts can serve as attractions for teachers to accept such posting.

For us, we believe that all teachers are winners, except that all of them cannot be rewarded at such awards, but the fact that some among them have been rewarded is an indication that we appreciate their efforts.