The Vice-President, Mr Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur, has called for a moratorium on strikes, especially by teachers.
He has, meanwhile, urged teacher unions, namely the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), the Teachers and Educational Workers Union (TEWU) and the Coalition of Concerned Teachers, to exhaust the channels of negotiation before embarking on strikes.
“This will create the necessary peace and tranquillity within the education sector to plan and develop”, he added.
Mr Amissah-Arthur made the call at this year’s World Teachers Day and the 19th edition of the national best teacher awards in Wa in the Upper West Region, on Saturday.
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Open door policy
Mr Amissah-Arthur said the government would maintain an open door policy in its dealings with teacher unions and that it was in this vein that “we have partnered the teacher unions to acquire means of transport by the offer of tax exemptions”.
He said the government had received proposals from the teacher unions for assistance to provide affordable houses for their members, in response of which the government was making more funds available through the Public Sector Home Loan Scheme operated through the HFC Bank.
“As the government contributes its quota towards your welfare, we also expect reciprocity by working very hard, thereby taking the lead for quality education,” he stated.
Mr Amissah-Arthur said despite efforts to ensure quality teaching, the teacher front was confronted with issues of lateness, absenteeism, alcoholism, high attrition rate, poor supervision and frequent strikes, all of which affected the quality of teaching.
He said a recent report by the World Bank on Ghana’s education sector indicated a high rate of teacher absenteeism, a phenomenon accounting for the key inefficiencies in the education sector.
Another report by the same World Bank stated that teachers in Ghana missed 45 working days a year while the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) estimated the average teacher absentee rate at 27 per cent, the Vice-President said.
On the teachers award scheme, Mr Amissah-Arthur said the Ministry of Education (MoE) had been tasked to review the current scheme with a view to improving how the event is celebrated.
He congratulated all the award winners and asked that they continue to be good examples for their colleagues.
The Minister of Education, Prof. Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, asked that teachers and all unions in the education sector should become active agents in the development of a framework of fundamental principles related to competencies required by teachers in the 21st century.
She stated that great efforts had gone into the provision of educational infrastructure, textbooks, uniforms for school children and the school feeding programme.
“Apart from these, interventions have been put in place to encourage teacher education and professional development. In all of these, we have anticipated quality delivery with the teacher as a pivot. Ghana demands results from these investments and we know teachers can deliver,” she added.
The Upper West Regional Minister, Dr Ephraim Avea Nsoh, expressed happiness that the region was receiving its fair share of educational facilities.
The National Chairman of GNAT, Mr Samuel Doe Alobuia, advised the awardees to translate their national recognition into more innovative teaching.
By George Folley & Chris Nunoo