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16.01.2016 Feature Article

An Open Letter To Gnat; Thank You For The Diary But We Need Something Smarter

The Writer
LISTEN JAN 16, 2016
The Writer

The teacher is the custodian of the human resource of the state. A student is as smarter as his teacher. The teacher has a significant influence on the quality of human resource a country produces. That is how relevant the teacher is.

Businesses, institutions, systems and even governance processes are getting smarter. The world has become smaller than it has ever been; people walk around with hundreds and thousands of books, movies and contacts of their friends and relations in their pockets. You need just six hours to be in England from Ghana. Just switch on your TV and you can watch how terrorist perpetrates their wicked acts against the Satirical Charlie Hebdo magazine, Bars and Restaurants in Paris.

Teachers and Students engage in effective teaching and learning relationship without ever physically meeting. The world indeed has become a global village and the predominant facilitator of this is technology. It’s fair to say the world has gotten smart and gets even smarter each day. The teacher has only one option, get smarter and remain relevant or get extinct.

I see government and curriculum developers of our educational system respond to these changes by integrating ICT into the system whiles they struggle to provide the applicable logistics to this effect. All sectors of the economy are conforming to the operations of the digital world. Our ministries, Departments and Agencies are not left out. The Controller and Accountant General Department says it is almost done with the digital migration of all public sector workers on to Government electronic payroll database system. Banks and other financial institutions have gotten smarter; digitization has become the lexicon of the 21st century world, no doubt about that.

It’s therefore appropriate that policies and management decisions executed by Institutions, Agencies, and Associations of both private and public orientation such as GNAT where I belong are guided by this inevitable force of change in their operations in the ultimate interest of their members as well as the intended beneficiaries of their services.

Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) is probably the largest and most numerically potent workers Association in Ghana today. Each member of this Association pays dues of about ghc20 every month which culminates to about ghs240 a year from an individual member, deducted at source. This is quite a remarkable sum of money that is mobilized every month from the several thousands of GNAT membership. I should have no doubts that these funds are prudently managed by our fund managers.

The influence and relevance of GNAT cannot be discounted as far as issues of the Ghanaian teacher are concerned. It may be fair to say that GNAT is the custodian of the Ghanaian teacher as the teacher is the custodian of the Ghanaian human resource. It may also be fair to say that the success story of the Ghanaian teacher is the success story of GNAT and the otherwise is true.

I have been a member of GNAT for the past ten years and at the end of every year there are souvenirs like diaries, radios, clocks, key holders and calendars from GNAT to its members, very appreciative of it. However, these were fantastic gifts about a decade ago, today, they are not. All those stuff I mentioned above and more can be found in a little smart and portable equipment called phone, very convenient and multifunctional. The world is getting rid of the pen and paper-like manual lifestyle and the Ghanaian teacher must follow suit. Thank you “Mr GNAT” for the diaries but we need something smarter and prestigious.

What is GNAT’s contribution to making the Ghanaian teacher smarter? How long shall teachers continue to carry pens and papers around in cars and in churches in the name of recording and keeping data and information? How much information can a diary keep anyway? Is it impossible for the biggest teacher organization like GNAT to provide its members with an ipad as a souvenir instead of a radio? It is done in several other organizations and Associations who are even far lesser in numbers and finances as compared to GNAT. There are some academic institutions in Ghana here which provide ipads and other smarter electronics for their students out of their meager school fees and I’m very certain GNAT can do better for its members. These diaries and radios must stop. We need something smarter.

[email protected] , twitter; @suakapeter, face book; suaka peter.

Peter Suaka
Peter Suaka, © 2016

The author has 40 publications published on Modern Ghana.Column: PeterSuaka

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