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02.04.2007 General News

Prizes for Best Teacher awards 'too cheap'

By The Statesman

Teachers in the Shama-Ahanta East Metropolitan Area have expressed dissatisfaction with the kind of prizes given them during Best Teacher Awards Days.

They say items like 'Ghetto blasters', 4-burner gas cookers and television sets usually given out as prizes on such occasions do not compensate for their heavy workloads.

According to the teachers such items are the basic necessities of life which each of them already possess.

They have now called on the Metropolitan Assembly to set up a committee that would go round mobilising resources for the purchase of more valuable items for their colleagues who distinguish themselves during Awards Days.

The teachers maintain it would not be out of place if the Assembly honours them with cars and houses as is being done for their counterparts in the health sector.

Members of the chalk fraternity poured out their frustrations at the 2004-2005 Metropolitan Best Teacher Awards Day held at the GSTS Assembly hall in Takoradi recently, where 22 of their colleagues, including those in the non-teaching field, were honoured.

The award winners, as usual, took home their traditional prizes of radio cassette players, gas cookers and TV sets.

The regional secretary of the Ghana National Association of Teachers, Martin Asamannaba, who was the first to kick against the prizes, said teachers need better incentives, inducements and extra-duty allowances to motivate them give of their best in the classrooms.

Speaker after speaker, including representatives of the Teachers and Educational Workers Union who have for the past few years distanced themselves from the Day, also took turns to lambaste the government for what they termed "the unfair treatment being meted out to the teacher.”

However sources say it was such criticisms which discouraged the Shama Ahanta East Metropolitan Assembly from organising the 2004-2005 event earlier on and that no such Day would be held for the year 2006.

According to the Chief Executive, Philip Kwesi Nkrumah, but for the persistent pressure put on his office by the metro director of education, M M Morgan, the last two years' event would not have come to pass.

He said SAEMA is however planning to organise this year's event in a grand style to appease and put critics of the Day to shame.

In an earlier address read on her behalf, the regional director of education, Rebecca Afiba Dadzie, said no amount of money or quantity of items could measure the sacrifices being made by Ghanaian teachers. She noted that although the prizes for the Best Teacher Awards Day were nothing to write home about, they add value to the personalities of the recipients.

Mrs Dadzie urged the teachers to see the awards as signs of respect and recognition accorded them for their hard work, self-discipline and dedication to duty. She observed that teachers are very rich people in terms of knowledge and that it was about time they disabused their minds of being poor, a perception widely held by the public.

Source: The Statesman