Education, it is said, is the most powerful tool which can be used to transform the world.
This view is espoused by former South African President Nelson Mandela and sums up the important role that education plays in the development of any nation.
Education no doubt prepares the human being for life, so that man as a social being can fit and become useful in his or her community as well as work to enhance the standard of living.
For us at the Daily Graphic, the vital role of education must be seen in its function of inculcating societal ideals into future generations to ensure the perpetuation of morals and discipline that ensure order in society.
Thus, be it formal, informal or non-formal, it is our contention that education remains a key facilitator of knowledge acquisition, skills, values, beliefs and habits.
If the significance of education to an individual, a community, a nation or the world is so remarkable, then it stands to reason that the critical role of people who are mandated to educate the citizenry must be recognised and appreciated.
The Daily Graphic notes the phases that teaching has gone through over the centuries; from a profession that was practised by mainly fathers in the form of passing on vocations to offspring in a purely informal way, to a very scientific area that involves collecting data, testing hypothesis, experimenting with methods and strategies and drawing conclusions in order to give the learner the best learning experience possible.
The teacher’s work in these modern times has become so technical that it is only nations whose teachers can effectively facilitate learning that can match others in the current global competition.
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Indeed, research results abound that the difference between the high and low-income countries is the extent of development of their respective educational systems.
It is against this backdrop that the Daily Graphic thinks everything must be done to motivate facilitators of learning to practise their profession to their optimum abilities for the benefit of the country.
Yesterday, the Ghana Teacher Prize, formerly Best Teacher Awards, was launched in Accra to reward teachers for their role in producing good and responsible future citizens for the country.
We know the number of teachers in the country and the awards that would be on offer would not allow many enterprising, resourceful, good and hardworking teachers to be rewarded. In fact, there are many who would qualify to be best teachers by the set criteria.
Be that as it may, some would receive prizes. Nonetheless, we are convinced that some of the best prizes that the country can give teachers is our preparedness to meet our part of the basic contractual bargain that we have entered into with members of the noble profession.
It is not good for teachers to be engaged for months and sometimes years and do not receive a dime as salary. A basic survey in Ghana would reveal that some of the most outstanding people in other professions, some time in their professional life, found themselves in the classroom but had to leave for other careers because of some of these frustrations.
Just a couple of days ago, the Deputy General Secretary of GNAT in charge of Professional Development, Gifty Apanbil, at an in-service training for teachers in Ho, gave an alarming statistics of about 7,000 teachers that leave the profession annually as a result of lack of motivation that corresponds to their workload.
Coincidentally, this year’s awards event is being held at a time the new curriculum for Kindergarten to Primary Six is being rolled out when we need the commitment of all teachers to ensure a smooth implementation of the new programme.
We reason that aside from the awards, teachers must be given their due in order to get them to commit to their work, which can spur good teacher-learner relationship that also creates a stronger understanding by learners to achieve higher levels of growth for the benefit of the country.