Yesterday was marked globally as World Teachers’ Day and locally as National Teachers’ Day to place the spotlight on the invaluable service that teachers render to society.
Yesterday, Ghana also celebrated the rebranded National Teacher’s Award which is now Ghana Teacher Prize with awards to deserving teachers and non-teaching staff who had excelled in the past year in their various fields and impacted the lives of schoolchildren and students in the country.
The Daily Graphic lauds the various governments that have sustained the teacher award scheme over the years since it was instituted in 1995 to rekindle interest in the teaching profession and also boost the falling morale of teachers in the country.
Indeed, we are pleased that it is no longer said that the Ghanaian teacher’s reward is in heaven as used to be the case when they worked under very trying conditions just to impart knowledge.
Their reward is also on earth as the government has shown by instituting the award scheme which has been upgraded. Now teachers are not just rewarded with radio sets but with very valuable items such as houses, vehicles, double-door fridges, LED television sets, as well as work tools such as laptop computers.
Although it is not all the thousands of teachers who receive prizes for their great work and sacrifices during the awards, we believe that the awards give the teachers something to look up to and which will inspire them to give of their best.
The inscription: “If you can read this, thank a teacher” is so true, as without the impartation of knowledge by a teacher no one can read and write. In fact, it is the mother of all professions and a noble one at that.
Many people have had to teach before finally settling on another profession and everyone who has been on that road would appreciate that indeed it is not easy to be a teacher, especially if you are not called to be one.
That is why apart from keeping steady the reward scheme for teachers, the Daily Graphic urges the government to clear all outstanding arrears owed teachers by way of salaries and allowances.
Also, there must be other incentive schemes to see to the provision of the right and adequate accoutrements to teachers to enable them to put in their best.
While we laud the introduction of programmes and policies such as the Capitation Grant, Free School Uniforms, Free SHS, Double-Track System, FCUBE and School Feeding, all of which have improved school enrolment, we must not lose sight of the fact that the teachers also need to be well resourced to be able to take care of the increasing numbers.
We believe that Ghanaian teachers are not asking for too much other than good accommodation and environments where they are posted to teach, as well as remuneration that will make them concentrate on teaching the children in their care in the classroom.
We must also not lose sight of the fact that teachers most times even spend more time with the children than parents do and so they contribute in no small way in moulding children to take up responsibilities in the future.
The theme of this year’s World Teachers’ Day, which was: “The Right to Education means The Right to a Qualified Teacher”, must resonate in all of government’s educational policies and programmes so that the right investments are made in the teacher so he or she delivers quality education only.
We congratulate all teachers and urge them to continue to give their best and posterity will not only praise but reward them adequately.