Asantehene Otumfuo Osei-Tutu II, has touted teachers as holders of the key to national development and indispensable in the country's quest for quality education.
"If education is the key then our teachers hold the key to our development and prosperity," he told members of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) at its Sixth Quadrennial National Delegates Conference in Kumasi.
Delegates from all the 16 regions are attending the week-long conference, which is being held on the theme, "[email protected]: Surviving as a Reliable and Vibrant Teacher Union in the 21st century."
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is expected to address the Conference at the Great Hall of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology on Tuesday, January 4.
It would be climaxed with the election of national officers to lead the Association for the next four years.
"By your tutelage we are able to shape our communities and nations. There can be no science, technology and inventions without a teacher," the Asantehene said.
He said teachers were the primary source of human progress and deserved to be held in high esteem for the essential services they continued to provide.
The implementation of the Free Senior High School Policy, he noted, was a landmark in Ghana's education system.
Much as the initiators deserved commendation for the bold step, the sacrifices and commitment of teachers towards its implementation could not be overemphasized, he said.
Otumfuo Osei-Tutu challenged the teachers to use the opportunity to confront challenges facing their work and chart a new course with focus on creativity and innovation.
"As we seek the best from our teachers, so must our teachers be made to feel truly valued," he said.
"It does get truly disconcerted when industrial relations break down and teachers abandon their classrooms and lecture halls, which obviously affects students."
He said he was pleased that officials from the Education as well as the Employment and Labour Relations ministries would participate in the Conference and called on all parties to focus on improved formula of negotiations and consultations to minimise industrial actions.
The Reverend Prof. Emmanuel Adow Obeng, the President of the Presbyterian University College, who delivered the keynote address, eulogised GNAT for becoming a formidable teacher union after years of struggle.
He said the Association had made significant impact in protecting the interest and welfare of the Ghanaian teacher and also contributed to the socio-economic development of Ghana.