From: Frank Amponsah, Winneba
The President, Nana Akufo-Addo, has indicated that government will pay serious attention to teachers because only a crop of well-trained, self-confident and contented teachers that can deliver the educated and skilled workforce can transform the economy.
He revealed that government intends to restore the teaching profession to the status it once enjoyed, and make it an attractive career choice.
The President was speaking during the second session of the 21st Congregation of the University of Education, Winneba (UEW.)
According to the President, the teaching profession must no longer be seen as a stop-gap measure or a job of last resort, but as a viable choice to enter a well-paid, well respected profession with long term career prospects and good benefits.
“As a policy, my government is going to partner and support UEW, as well as all the other public Universities in the country, with the aim of raising and improving standards so as to be able to compete with the best on the continent,” he said.
He also indicated that Ghanaian universities should be ranked amongst the top 10 on the continent, adding that “…this is not beyond us to achieve, and my government will ensure that universities are equipped with the requisite logistics and guarantee that lecturers are well motivated to achieve this feat. Research and innovation will be at the heart of education in Ghana. This would ensure that our graduates from our educational institutions enter the labour market, well-equipped with skills for good-paying jobs.”
He also said government intends to facilitate teacher training nationwide, as well as special incentives for them, such as support for teachers to acquire their own homes.
This, he said, would be done in collaboration with the Ghana National Association of Teachers, NAGRAT, and other teaching associations to facilitate an affordable housing scheme for teachers.
“We will also support teachers to enrol in Distance Education programmes to boost their capacity. This is in line with our policy of motivating teachers, and rewarding their hard work in the classroom. It is for this reason that government, from September, is re-introducing the teacher training allowance that was cancelled by the previous government.”
He said UEW has played major roles in reforming and transforming the educational structures of the country.
He also averred that for Ghana to move from being an economy dependent on the export of raw materials to an economy of value-addition, then it must create the hundreds of thousands of jobs needed by graduates from the tertiary, technical, vocational and senior high schools of the country.
“…We must process the natural resources we have to enable us reap higher benefits. It is with this aim of transforming our economy that my government is determined to partner the private sector to set up strategic industries to help create jobs for our youth. These include, but not limited, to an iron and steel industry, which will exploit the iron ore deposits at Oppon Manso and Sheini, near Tamale, and facilitate the manufacture of machine parts and equipment; an integrated aluminium industry, which will exploit the bauxite deposits at Kyebi and Nyinahin; petrochemical industries from oil and gas deposits from the Jubilee, TEN and Sankofa fields; and vehicle assembly plants.”
President Akufo-Addo also mentioned that Ghana, unlike Singapore, is blessed with natural resources and it should be easier to educate its population and that government has made education one of its topmost priorities.
He charged the graduands to face the challenges ahead, “The education you have received, I am confident, will put you on a sound footing to confront the challenges of this world. In talking about challenges, yes, there will be many ahead of you. But one thing I know, perhaps, better than anybody in Ghana at the moment, is that no challenge is too great to surmount. The Bible tells us in Galatians that “we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
Accept Postings To Rural Ghana
Pro Vice Chancellor and acting Vice Chancellor of the University of Education, Winneba, Rev. Fr. Prof. A. Afful-Broni, has charged members of the graduating class to accept posting to rural communities.
Prof. Afful- Broni urged the graduants to gleefully accept postings to remote areas of the country and not only the major cities such as Accra, Kumasi, Takoradi and Cape Coast.
In all, a total of 10,587 students graduated at various levels. Out of the total number, 6,644 were from the Southern sector and 3,943 from the Northern sector of the country. In terms of awards, 904 received post graduate degrees, 6,008 received graduate degrees and 3,675 are received diploma awards.