5th October is a day celebrated globally to commemorate the hard work of teachers. It is celebrated as World Teachers Day, and as such the maiden edition of the celebration was organized in the Akatsi North district at the district capital at Ave Dakpa. This year’s celebration was themed: “Teaching in Freedom, Empowering the Teacher” and was well attended by teachers from all walks of the district.
And as usual, the DCE for the area, Hon. Dr. Prince Sodoke Amuzu was there to grace the occasion. In his speech, he foremost expressed his gratitude to the affable teachers who are working tirelessly to change the fortunes of the coming generations. “not for teachers, I wouldn’t be where am I today as a person and that if there is any investment we should pursue as a district, key amongst them should be education. Because through education, many many problems would be resolved at a much lesser cost” He encouraged the teachers that he would work with them in all earnest and support all activities that would make life comfortable for them. He continued that his Excellency the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo is committed to making sure teachers enjoy their rewards on this earth, not in heaven.
He expressed that one of the ways to close the ICT gap in the district is to build a modern ICT center, “instead of waiting to put computers into everywhere and every school, we can have a center that has enough computers for multiple classes so we can have a schedule of buses that can bring the pupils to take their studies so that they can have the exposure”. He continued that, in 2017, it is inappropriate to let our pupils not see and touch a computer at their early days.
He continued, there is an ongoing conversation about classroom block, toilet facilities, teacher accommodation, teacher motivation, improving access and retaining teachers. This is because there will be a revolution of buildings soon where pupils would no more study under trees or overcrowded classrooms. He continued that his observations concluded that most of the school has water and sanitation problems. For that, a lot of water is coming through the Water for All project. He continued that he has had some discussions with the Director of Education that, we relook at the best teacher award honorarium that has been cancelled years ago in the district, would be brought back to serve as a tenet for teacher motivation in the district in a fairer and motivating manner and the award will be something craving for.
He continued that, Girl-Child Education is an essential element of the national policy. He mentioned that his Excellency the President of Ghana is a gender champion. Therefore, he is committed to championing girl-child education in the district. Again, he indicated that the Minister for Gender and Social Protection, Hon. Otiko Afisa Djaba has created the opportunity that the scope of the School Feeding Programme be expanded and this would take effect soon in the district. He also assures the teachers that the debt of about GHC 186,000.00 incurred by the district through the district sponsored school feeding programme will be paid.
Again he continued that he is in talk with the Director to introduce a healthy interschool Quiz competition. This would bring a healthy competition among the basic schools to prepare the pupils well for the future. He again reiterated the Free SHS has come, and said he is in total agreement with the MP for the area who is also a ranking member on Education indicated that “No government can scrub the Free SHS policy”.
He expressed worried at the rampant ways pupils in the Akatsi North District took to watching telenovelas notably the viral Kumkum Bahgya, Veera, Preeya, Tarshian, Doli Arman Doki and many more. He said this problem cannot be solved using corporal punishments but rather zeroed in to be addressed by the mind. This is to say, what you speak to the children, what you are asking them to do and the conversation should be around how to tackle the issue without imprisonments, fines and corporal punishments. He continued that the issue of Teacher Licensing should not be political and should not deemed as if it’s the NPP government that is imposing the policy on teachers but should be taken from the realm of politics and rather be deep-seated among the professionals. They (professionals) has to take the absolute decision on it before tabling it before the politicians, this way the policy will be very successful and the teachers would be happy.
Some teachers at the forum expressed multiples views on issues, key among them is the current alarming trend of “Jackpots” that students now take to. Some also were of the view that the pictures on the cover of the exercise books in the market that the pupils are exposed to are not the best. If we want to tackle certain causes of pupils’ poor performance, exercise books with pictures of nude celebrities, KumKum Bahgya and uneducational pictures on pupils’ exercise books should be banned from our main markets.