Teachers in deprived island communities in the Ada East District in the Greater Accra Region have called on the government to improve school infrastructure, provide teachers bungalows and ensure timely distribution of supplies and logistics to encourage the retention of teachers posted to the schools on the island.
The teachers said an additional insurance cover for teachers as an incentive would also entice trained teachers to the deprived islands.
According to the teachers, due to the poor accommodation situation on the islands, teachers stayed at Ada Foah and crossed the Volta River daily to school, risking their lives in the process.
The Head teacher of Pediatorkope DA Basic School, Mr Sampon K. Sewornu, said this during the presentation of 30 life jackets to teachers on the island by the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT).
The teachers commute daily from the mainland, Ada Foah, to schools on the islands, namely Azizakpe, Alorkpem, Aflive, Pediatorkope and Tuanikope.
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Mr Sewornu explained that provision of the incentive packages for teachers in such communities would be an appropriate response to the attendance problems which can make a huge difference in a child's life.
The Head teacher of Azizakpe D/A Primary School, Mr Moses Gbli Pertiafo, which has only four trained teachers, said that due to the absence of a junior high school (JHS) on the island, about 25 pupils commute daily in hand-paddled boats from Azizakpe to other islands such as Alorkpem or Ada Foah to access JHS education.
He, therefore, appealed to the district assembly and corporate bodies to assist the Azizakpe island with the construction of a JHS block.
The head teachers expressed appreciation to GNAT for the provision of life jackets, emphasising that it would mitigate the fears of teachers who made the perilous journey to the island daily.
Safety of teachers
The Head of Membership Education of GNAT, Accra, Mr Thomas Musa, who toured the island schools together with the executives of GNAT and Mr Ato Kwamina Dompoh, the Dangme East District Chairman of GNAT, expressed concern about the safety of their members, especially those in the deprived communities.
He said GNAT was committed to the retention of teachers in the classroom and would do everything possible to advocate the construction of teachers’ bungalows and provision of safe means of transport for its members in underserved areas.
"It is only when our teachers feel safe at their duty posts that they can deliver quality education," he said.
Mr Musa said the provision of life jackets and other necessities to teachers in the deprived areas of Ghana formed part of GNAT's programme to improve conditions of service of teachers and to attract and retain them to areas where their services were needed most.