The government has announced that teachers will enjoy a 10 per cent increase in their basic salaries this year.
Meanwhile, it said it had started clearing arrears owed teachers that had accrued from 2013 to 2016, with respect to travel, transfer grants and overtime.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who announced this in Accra yesterday, commended teacher unions, including the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), for their collaboration in the exercise to clear the arrears which, he said, was scheduled to end by the close of March.
He said the government was also putting in place measures to ensure that such arrears did not accrue again.
“Government has already begun to improve upon the circumstances of teachers in the country and, therefore, it will no longer accrue arrears,” he added.
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President Akufo-Addo made the announcement when he inaugurated the refurbished hall and hostel of GNAT at its headquarters in Accra.
The conference hall, which currently has a seating capacity of 1,100 from the initial 400, was refurbished at the cost of GH¢7 million.
The President congratulated the GNAT president, Mrs Philippa Larsen, on her election to the position and for the decision to refurbish the GNAT Hall, saying the facility was currently one of the best conferencing facilities in the country.
On reforms to improve the welfare of teachers, President Akufo-Addo further announced that the “government was working with other key stakeholders to develop a comprehensive teacher policy based on UNESCO benchmarks to enhance the lot of our teachers.”
The nine components of this policy, the President outlined, were teacher recruitment and retention, teacher education, deployment, career structure and path, teacher employment and working conditions, teacher reward and remuneration, teacher standards, teacher accountability and school governance.
“Government is also pursuing several reforms, including pre-tertiary curricular reforms, teacher education curricular reforms at the pre-tertiary and tertiary levels and mainstreaming technical and vocational training and teacher education,” he said.
The President explained that the reforms formed part of the government’s vision to transform the country’s education delivery system to meet the needs of the 21st century and produce a skilled and confident workforce to drive the nation’s agenda for industrialisation and modernisation.
He, therefore, appealed to the GNAT, as well as other teacher unions, to give their full backing to the “comprehensive programme.”
President Akufo-Addo said all modern successful nations that had experienced extraordinary results in the formation of human capital and economic development had shown that teacher quality was, perhaps, the single most important determinant of their success.
To that end, he said Ghana also needed a crop of well-trained and well-motivated teachers who could help deliver the educated and skilled workforce the country required to transform its economy in order to succeed.
President Akufo-Addo paid tribute to the late Thomas Ango Bediako after whom the hall was named, describing him as a remarkable patriot and selfless Ghanaian.
He said GNAT was what it was today because of the work of its pioneers, including the late Bediako, who he said was well deserving of the honour being done in his memory.
He gave an assurance that the work done by Mr Bediako and many who came after him, would not be in vain under his administration.
For her part, Mrs Larsen encouraged the President to help ensure the smooth clearing of the arrears, pledging the cooperation of GNAT in the process.
She also paid glowing tribute to Mr Bediako, who together with Mr Mike Senoo, mobilised teachers across the country to join the association when it opted out of the Ghana Trades Union Congress (TUC) in 1962.
A copy of the biography of the late Bediako was presented to President Akufo-Addo.