OUR governments continue to allocate the chunk of its budget to support education in the country. A few decades ago, the teacher was the role model in our society, with everyone looking up to him or her for direction. Teaching was the aspiration of many children.
IN those days, a teacher in the rural area was the community’s spokesperson, secretary to the chief and religious leader in society. Many young people at the time opted for the teaching profession because of the public’s recognition of education as the foundation for development.
SOMEHOW, the role of the teacher in nation-building was undermined along the line. Whatever led to that development is something that is difficult to assign reasons to, but it will not be wrong to blame it on certain behavioural traits of the teacher.
SOME teachers absent themselves from school for no justifiable reason; others are not punctual, while another group indulge in alcoholism and, therefore, do not have time for work.
The pressure on the government to cut down on educational spending, for instance, compelled the state to ask parents to share in the cost of educating their children.
MANY of our people at that stage regarded education as expensive and wondered whether our governments still considered education as a right. It was seen by others as a privilege. Those challenges were compounded by the economic meltdown of the 1970s and the inability of the government to provide all the needs of the educational sector.
DURING the so-called good old days, school inspectors were dreaded by teachers and students who never wanted to cross the path of those inspectors. The community at that time had a big say in the management of the schools and could even recommend the transfer or dismissal of a teacher. Those were the days when standards were very high in our schools and basic school leavers could compete with the best today.
THOSE were the days when the religious bodies also had a strong influence over the posting of teachers.
TODAY recalls the former Minister of Education, Professor Naana
Jane Opoku-Agyemang, served notice that teachers who absented themselves from duty for 10 continuous days or more would be deemed to have vacated their posts. Not too long after her notice, the then government elevated the Inspectorate Division of the Ghana Education Service (GES) into a board and the idea, Today believes, was to empower the body with enough power to bring deviant teachers to book.
WE should strengthen the Inspectorate Board of the GES to be able to compel teachers to earn their incomes as one of the practical steps to reverse the downward slide in education.
TODAY therefore would like to appeal to all Ghanaians to change their mindsets towards all state led or owned programmes and projects and take active interest in the way they are run and that includes our educational system. We should see them as being there for the sole good of society. Communities should collaborate with the educational authorities to get teachers to remain in the classrooms to teach children to become useful and responsible adults.