The Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) has kicked against the decision of the Ghana Education Service (GES) to compel any teacher who refuses to accept posting to refund the bond sum of ¢30 million.
“We think the GES should be more proactive in identifying the challenges newly trained teachers face.
I don't think the decision is the best and that GES must manage its human resource well and stop using threats,” the Deputy General Secretary of GNAT, Mr John Nyoagbe, told the Daily Graphic last Friday.
Mr Nyoagbe said although he was not pampering or justifying the action of teachers who refused posting to certain places, there were several genuine factors that discouraged them from going to those places and that such factors needed to be addressed.
He named some of the factors as the lack of potable water, motorable roads, health posts and clinics, banking services, as well as living and classroom accommodation.
Mr Nyoagbe cited Nzulezu in the Jomoro District where one had to travel on a canoe for about one hour and Wli-Todzi on top of the Togoland Range, which was not motorable, and that between one to two hours was spent to get to the top where the town and school were located.
According to him, the lack of proper tracking mechanisms and effective monitoring on the part of the GES had led to teachers straying into other areas.
“The human resource division of the GES and the district education directorates must sit up. They must relate with beginner teachers very well and they would get the best,” he stated.
Mr Nyoagbe intimated that GNAT was committed to quality public education and was concerned about the necessary conditions for achieving that, saying that although there was a shortage of teachers in the country “we also know that there may be lop-sidedness in the distribution of teachers, which favours the urban and metropolitan areas”.
He said GNAT's conditions of service stated, among other things, that teachers would be posted to locations where their services were most needed.
He therefore underscored the need for the GES to work in tandem with the Ministry of Local Government Rural Development and Environment to ensure that facilities needed for effective teaching and learning had been provided.
Mr Nyoagbe also expressed concern about the attitude of district assemblies, which only signed the sponsorship forms of teacher trainees and left them on their own.
He said other district assemblies gave the trainees ¢500,000 a year, which was not enough. He also deplored the way and manner in which some district directors lashed out at teachers, stating that such a practice was demoralising and tended to make teachers despondent.
The acting Director General of the GES, Mr Michael Nsowah, told the Daily Graphic that the decision to pay the ¢30 million bond sum was to recover part of the cost incurred by the government in training the teachers.
He said the government spent so hugely in the training of teachers in the country, explaining that the refund was to ensure that they (teachers) respected the bonds they signed while in school.