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Teachers urgently wanted

Qualified school teachers are scarce in Ghana. Poor salaries and bad circumstances deter many women and men to become teacher.

Moreover more than 44,000 public basic school teachers resigned in 2021, according to Africa Education Watch (Eduwatch), an education policy research and advocacy organisation, though the figure is projected to be higher.

Classes are frequently overcrowded, there is a lack of sanitation facilities and textbooks. Vitus Doozie, a senior high school teacher says: “In this country, teaching has become a threat to one’s livelihood. If you are a teacher with no other source of income to supplement your teaching salary, you will be living from hand to mouth.”

He blames the government to have taken away every allowance attached to teachers’ basic pay including car maintenance and fuel allowance, as well as transportation provided to teachers who are transferred. Moreover basic schools lack text books and teachers have to use their phones to conduct research and download teaching materials from the internet.

“There is no uniformity in teaching at the basic level,” Doozie complains. “When textbooks are available, they guide teachers on what to do, how to access and evaluate, and they also provide uniformity,” she adds.

To address the situation, the government conducted an education reform in 2018. It implemented a standardised based curriculum, but experts criticised it. There are no textbooks available and it has a slew of planning flaws. When some teachers complained about the lack of textbooks, Emmanuel Acheampong an official at Ghana Education Service (GES), the country’s education governing body, told them that textbooks are designed to allow students to practice what they have learned in classroom.

“However, I am surprised at how teachers are trained today. Does this imply that a teacher cannot teach without textbooks?” He advises teachers to be creative and innovative: “You must improvise because the classroom should not always be the only environment for learning.”

According to Eduwatch, less than half of the capital expenditure allocation of the government had been released by the end of November 2021, when the 2022 budget was read. At the moment, Ghana spends 242 million cedis (around € 30 Mio) on a teacher trainees’ allowance. And trainees can apply for a guarantor-free student loan from the government.

These measures do not seem to have helped so far. In 2022 the government was unable to recruit even half of the 44,000 basic school teachers who left their classrooms in 2021, according to Eduwatch. With the amount set aside in 2022 for teacher trainees’ allowance, 6,000 additional teachers who are desperately needed in rural schools could be recruited.

The Ghana Ministry of Education contradicts Eduwatch. A spokesperson said only 293 professional teachers resigned in the 2021 academic year not 44,000, according to educationweb.com, a Ghanaian education-focused news site. The 44,000 public school teachers were mainly trainees and not professional teachers, says the spokesman.

Dasmani Laary is a journalist in Ghana.



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