President Akufo-Addo has told the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) that he is happy that they were satisfied with the one teacher-one laptop programme and promised to address any lingering concerns regarding it.
“I’m glad to hear how much you welcome the supply of laptops and promise you that the other related matters of concern of which the national president referred to in her speech, will be addressed”, Mr Akufo-Addo said on Tuesday, 4 January 2022, when he delivered a speech at the 6th Quadrennial National Delegates Conference of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, in Kumasi.
A few weeks ago, some teacher unions hit the streets to demand a refund of money deducted from their accounts for the payment of their 30 per cent cost-share of the laptops, which have been distributed to teachers across the country.
However, the President said: “Good relations between GNAT and my government are a matter of importance to me and I’ll do my very best to promote such relations”.
Also, President Akufo-Addo noted that GNAT is what it is today because of the work of its past and current membership and leadership, and he assured that under his administration, the work undertaken by the membership and leadership of the Association will not be in vain.
The President, thus, used the opportunity to thank all teachers in the country for the work they did, and continue to do, in ensuring that the education of Ghanaian children, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, has not been truncated.
“Continuous assessment, the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) and the West Africa Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE) have all been written by thousands and thousands of students, under your care and guidance, in conditions of safety and orderliness, and without incident. The nation is extremely appreciative of these acts of selflessness and patriotism,” he said
According to President Akufo-Addo, his vision of a modern, competitive, Ghanaian economy, spearheaded by indigenous entrepreneurs, with productive employment for the great majority of its citizens, requires skilled economic actors, and to get there, the nation needs an educated workforce.
“Through the implementation of the Free Senior High School policy, we are ensuring that value is being added to the intellect of every Ghanaian child. This is our surest way of succeeding in adding value to the Ghanaian economy, thereby helping to create acceptable, well-paying jobs for the young people of our country,” he said.
The President continued, “For us, in Ghana, also to make a success of our nation, we must pay attention to teachers. It is only a group of well trained and motivated teachers that can help deliver the educated and skilled workforce we require to transform our economy and nation”.
Outlining the many initiatives implemented by the government since 2017, he stated that his government has restored, since coming into office five years ago, and continues to pay, teacher trainee allowances, which were abolished by the previous administration.
“In addition to the yearly average increase in salaries over the last five years, my government is, for the first time in our nation’s history, paying a professional allowance to teachers. We have abolished the three months’ pay policy for teachers, we have cleared the arrears, and promotions due teachers have also been effected,” he said.
He stressed that to prevent undue delays in the promotion of qualified teachers, the government will, in 2022, improve on the conduct of the aptitude test instituted by the Ghana Education Service, leveraging on lessons learnt from the one conducted in 2021.
Affordable Housing for Teachers
“Government is also committed to the development of affordable housing for teachers all across the nation. The current initiative will involve the provision of housing for both mortgage and rental. I am fully aware that one challenge facing teacher ownership of homes beyond finance is their inability to purchase homes where they intend to retire,” he said.
Through a subsidised loan programme, President Akufo-Addo indicated that teachers will be provided an opportunity to own houses in desired locations in various parts of the country, stating that the Ministry of Education is working with the National Service Scheme on this.
In addition, the Ministry of Works and Housing is in discussion with teacher unions to provide more housing opportunities for teachers.
“Within the next two years, it is proposed that 10,000 housing units on affordable terms will be developed for teachers across the country. This, as we all know, is the tip of the iceberg, but it is a good beginning,” he added.