A 41-year-old teacher at the Richard Acquaye Memorial Basic School in Accra, Ms Faustina Coppson, could not hide her joy when she was declared winner of the 2017 Best Teacher Award.
And, when she mounted the podium to address the gathering, including government officials, directors of education, teachers, pupils, among others, at the 23rd National Best Teacher and third Best School awards in Koforidua on Thursday, Ms Coppson said: “To God be the glory; great things He has done and greater things He will do.”
For her prize, she received a three-bedroom house to be constructed at a place of her choice, GH¢50,000 life insurance cover from the SIC Life Insurance and a cheque for GH¢80,000.
Ms Agnes Nutakor of the Kpeve Model School in the Volta Region and Mr Joseph Abussah of the Presbyterian Senior High School, Legon in the Greater Accra Region were adjudged the first and the second runners-up, respectively.
Ms Nutakor received a cash award of GH¢110 000, with an additional GH¢30,000 life insurance cover from SIC Life Insurance presented to her by the Minister of State in charge of Tertiary Education, Professor Kwesi Yankah, amid cheers from family members and friends who accompanied her to receive her award.
Mr Abussah received a Hyundai ix35 saloon car and a GH¢20,000 life insurance cover from SIC Life Insurance presented to him by the Deputy Minister of Education in charge of Primary and Junior High School, Ms Barbara Asher Ayisi.
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The visibly elated National Best Teacher for 2017 was subsequently presented to the Omanhene of the New Juaben Traditional Area, Emeritus Professor Daasebre Oti Boateng, who congratulated her on her achievement.
Speaking at the awards event, Ms Coppson expressed appreciation to her employers, the Ghana Education Service (GES) and the Ministry of Education, for the honour done her and urged her colleague teachers to remain resolute in the discharge of their duties.
She encouraged other teachers that their hard work would not go unnoticed and urged them to continuously put in their best for their students and pupils.
“Today, it is us, but tomorrow will be the turn of other people. Teaching is not a stepping stone and teachers must avoid that mindset, so that they can deliver quality teaching to their pupils and students,” she stated.
She urged teachers to take their work seriously, since dedicated teachers were receiving their rewards here on earth, contrary to the axiom that a teacher’s reward was in heaven.
Ms Coppson said she was humbled by the recognition, adding that the awards were special in the lives of all teachers.
“Teaching is a calling and must be done and done well for a future reward,” she said.
She expressed her appreciation to the government, the sponsors and the organisers of the awards for recognising the role teachers played in national development.
She gave an assurance that teachers would continue to nurture children brought to their care, so that the children could grow up to be responsible adults for the socio-economic growth of the nation.
According to Ms Coppson, parents must complement the government’s efforts at enhancing education.
The National Best Teacher Award is an annual event organised by the Ministry of Education.
This year’s event, organised by a 19-member planning committee, chaired by Ms Ayisi, took place at the Jackson Park in Koforidua where hundreds of teachers and award winners converged to celebrate the day set aside to acknowledge the contribution of teachers to the nation’s development.
This is the second time in seven years that the award has been held in Koforidua. The previous time was in 2010.