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09.10.2008 Education

PRIVATE SCHOOL TEACHERS PROTEST… Over exclusion from National Best Teachers` Awards

By Micael Boateng, Sunyani - Ghanaian Chronicle

The Brong-Ahafo Regional Chairman of the Ghana National Association of Private Schools (GNAPS), Nana Kwadwo Kwakyie II, has criticised the government for excluding teachers in private schools, from benefiting from the National Teachers Awards.

Speaking in an interview with The Chronicle, at this year's Teachers Awards Day ceremony in Sunyani on Tuesday, he questioned the rationale behind the selection criteria for the National Best Teachers' Awards, and added that until the Ghanaian teacher, whether in a public or private school, was adequately recognised and awarded, Ghana's quest for quality education for all, may never be achieved, since public schools alone cannot cater for all children of school-going age in the country.

He made this observation when The Chronicle approached him during the award ceremony at the Jubilee Park in Sunyani, under the theme: 'Quality Teachers for Quality Education: Teacher Matter.'

The ceremony, which was delayed for over three hours, following President Kufour's inability to arrive at the stipulated time, saw over 50 deserving active and retired teachers and some non-teaching staff, receiving various categories of awards.

Nana Kwakyie II pointed out that in spite of the fact that private schools were profit making ventures, they do not run their institutions on their own, but do so in conformity with syllabus, and other activities of the Ghana Education Service (GES) in the country.

The obviously dejected educationist, on behalf of his colleagues, was of the view that if private medical doctors were allowed to operate under the National Health Insurance Scheme, nothing prevented the state from honouring private school teachers, who were undoubtedly contributing to the quality of education in the country.

He noted that the discrimination in matters concerning education, health and poverty reduction must be seriously looked at again, to help the country achieve the Millennium Challenge Goals.

Nana Kwakyie said at least one private school teacher from each region, should be among the National Best Teachers' Award Scheme, to serve as motivation for the private sector.

When this reporter questioned whether GNAPS would in the near future consider organising a similar award scheme for its teachers, Nana Kwakyie said the matter had not yet come up for consideration.

Currently, there are about 500 private schools in the region, with over 5,000 teachers. The question is, “from those 5,000 teachers in the private sector of the Brong-Ahafo Region alone, can't we have at least 50 of them making the mark that qualified one to receive the national award,” Nana Kwakyie queried.

He said already private schools were being excluded from government policies like the Capitation Grant and the School Feeding Program, and what most Ghanaians were praying against, was for the nation to wake up to be told that private businessmen can no longer enjoy state facilities.

Meanwhile, Mr. Saddique Boateng of the T. I. Ahmadiyya Senior High School in Kumasi, won the overall National Best Teachers' Award for the year 2008, receiving a house worth GH¢60,000 as his prize, whilst Madam Magdalene Mensah of Opoku Ware Senior High School, was the first runner-up, winning a brand new Nissan pickup, with Alice Dzifa Brigo of Awudome Senior High School, coming third and taking a brand new Nissan saloon car.

All the three award winners were also given a computer each.