Dr William Ahadze, a Lecturer and Researcher at the Centre for Policy Research, University of Ghana, Legon yesterday appealed to the Government to formulate policies to motivate and retain teachers.
He cautioned that teachers between the ages of 21 and 35 who constituted about 85 per cent of the profession were on the verge of leaving the classroom for other careers due to poor remuneration and conditions of service.
'There is the need to introduce policies for teachers within this age group so that they can be maintained and not allowed to join other businesses,' he stressed. Dr Ahadze was presenting a paper on teacher deployment organised by the Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition (GNECC), a network of civil society organisations, professional groupings, educational/research institutions and other practitioners interested in promoting quality basic education.
The workshop was aimed at sensitising stakeholders on research findings on teacher distribution and the capitation grant to share ideas that would help address challenges confronting the educational sector.
He said enrolment at the basic level had increased slowly since the implementation of the last educational reform at an annual average growth rate of five per cent and was now at 16.7 per cent in 2006/07.
Dr Ahadze said a Ministry of Education, Science, and Sports report in 2006, described the quality of education as low with a huge disparity between urban and rural centres with 70 per cent in the Greater Accra Region as against 47 per cent in the Northern Region.
He cited high proportion of untrained teachers, high pupil/teacher ratio, teacher turn over as other crucial problems confronting the educational sector and said the problem was compounded by the fact that most of the teachers in the country were SSS leavers who lacked the needed training.
The lecturer stressed the need to improve the quality of teachers by providing them with in-service training, motivation, addressing accommodation problems, improving salary and sponsorship.
Dr Ahadze appealed to the Coalition to demand from the Government and other stakeholders to show concrete, measurable and verifiable commitment towards education improvement.
Speaking on the paper, 'Provision of Capitation Grant at the District and Community Levels: The Implication for Access Education,' Dr Yaw Ofosu Kusi, Social Studies Lecturer at the University of Education, Winneba, expressed concern about the late release of the capitation grant and described it as a major headache in all the regions.
He said in Wenchi and Nkoranza districts in the Brong-Ahafo Region, studies revealed generally that there was a slight improvement in the number of basic schools in these communities, though there was some reduction in enrolment as well.
These Districts, he added, had their fair share of problems including absenteeism, lack of accommodation and untrained teachers. He said the research also recommended that sanctions should be meted out to parents who failed to send their children to school but did not spell out the mood they should take.
Mr Kobina Afena-Sam, Brong-Ahafo Regional Coordinator of the Coalition said it was the vision of the organisation to provide quality, relevant and enjoyable basic education for all irrespective of age, income levels, gender, physical or other disabilities, geographical location, ethnic, religious and socio-economic backgrounds.
The organisation's mission, he said, was to work at changing attitudes and practices and influencing policies of institutions towards ensuring quality basic education.