Accra, Sept. 27, GNA - With effect from next academic year professional teachers undertaking distance education programmes approved by the Ministry of Education and Ghana Education Service (GES) would enjoy free tuition from government, Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo, Minister of Education and Sports (MOES), announced on Tuesday.
Normal fees, which were paid to universities or other tertiary institutions by professional teachers undertaking distance programmes would be paid or refunded to such teachers as long as programmes being pursued were approved by the Ministry and GES, he said.
The Minister said this was in fulfilment of a request made to the Ministry by the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) to assist teachers pursuing distance education programmes.
Mr Osafo-Maafo explained at a press conference in Accra that 60 per cent of the amount would be paid to the universities on behalf of the teachers and after successful completion, the balance pertaining to each long distance course would be refunded or paid to the universities concerned.
The Minister said only programmes which related to teaching would qualify, adding that part-payment would be made on behalf of the teachers to the universities offering the courses, notably the University of Cape Coast and University of Education, Winneba. The Minister announced earlier this year that a committee had been set up to look into the grievances of professional teachers in tertiary institutions for the grant of study leave with pay. Mr Osafo-Maafo said the report of the Committee had been accepted by the Government and most of its final recommendations endorsed by Cabinet.
"I am happy to observe that the application of these recommendations this year has been successful," he said. He told a press conference that since last April that the Ministry had been working with University of Cape Coast and University of Education, Winneba, to introduce a more attractive distance-learning programme to assist teachers to further their education without necessarily being physically located at the University campus. He said an estimated 6,000 teachers were on the programme, adding that about 1.5 million cedis were spent on each teacher. Mr Osafo-Maafo said teachers in the deprived areas would be given priority.
He said 285 billion cedis were spent to support teachers on study leave with pay adding that because of the quota system not all teachers could benefit and that was why this avenue was opened so that more teachers would get the chance.
Mrs Angela Baiden Amissah, Deputy Minister, said teachers from the Northern, Upper West, Upper East Regions and the Afram Plains were already on the programme.