Accra, Jan. 9 GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor has called on the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) to hold and apply appropriate sanctions against its members, who go wayward of the profession's code of conduct so as to maintain public dignity and respect.
He said the Association must acknowledge that the public had misgivings about the conduct of some individual teachers bordering on moral bankruptcy and plain criminality adding that these were more than enough to erode respect for the teacher.
President Kufuor, who was opening the Second and 49th Quadrennial National Delegates Conference of the Association at the Accra International Conference Centre on Monday said, although the Ghana Education Service (GES) as the Employer had its own responses to these shortcomings and underperformance, GNAT must also deal with its aberrant members.
"Your Association which provides advocacy and leadership to the profession must always be conscious of the high responsibility that devolves on the profession for the advancement of the nation." The five-day conference is being held on the theme: "Eradicating Poverty Through Education."
President Kufuor also drew attention to the need for unions within the teaching profession to co-ordinate their activities and to avoid feuding.
He pointed out that under the Labour Law of the country, the number of unions were not limited to only one in any profession or vocation, "But it must be appreciated that whatever advantages come with multiplicity of unions are at once negated by the feuding amongst them."
He made reference to the feuding between GNAT and its counterparts in the profession in the course of last year, which, he said occasioned needless anxiety, not least to the Government. Indeed, for a while Government did not know with whom to negotiate to return striking teachers to the classroom.
President Kufuor likened the value of the teacher to that of "air to human life" and repeated his Government's determination to do everything possible within the country's limited resources to restore job pride and social dignity to the profession.
He, therefore, encouraged teachers to continue to pursue their work with dedication to help the sustained transformation of the nation, to find its proper place in the fast approaching global village. President Kufuor said it had become obvious especially in this age of science and technology, that technical and vocational studies should become part of the educational curriculum of the country.
Using the rapid economic progress being made by some Asian Countries through the development of their human resource to support this, he said, the success story of those countries that had lately come to the economic limelight laid in the concentration on vocational and technical skills training. "They have no natural resources - no gold, no diamond, no bauxite or timber, nothing at all. All they have is human resource, in the development of which these nations concentrated on the expanded core curriculum being advocated now, which is designed to solve problems for rapid economic growth." The President, however, noted that whatever the curriculum taught anywhere, the critical role of informed, purposeful and motivated teacher to motivate students to be enterprising could not be glossed over.
He said it was for this reason that budgetary allocation in this year's budget provided for the rehabilitation of all 38 teacher training colleges in the country, 15 of which would be initially equipped to emphasize the teaching of Mathematics and Science. President Kufuor said, given formal and well-directed education in the expanded core curriculum, it could become even more effective vehicle for rapid economic progress.
"We must accept that perhaps we have the tool for tackling the theme of poverty eradication in our hands. The solution lies on the type of education we give to our youth at school. It must prepare them for problem solving and self-reliance in their after school career." In this regard, the school farms, craft work and domestic science of former times, grafted to the expanded core-curriculum, including information technology, must be re-introduced and given adequate attention to empower the youth.
President Kufuor said this way whether a student pursued higher education or underwent apprenticeship for employment, he or she would be able to fit into society more competently and with some capacity for initiative. GNAt Appeal Accra, Jan. 9, GNA - Mrs Portia Molly Anafo, President of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), appealed to the Government to reconsider the remuneration of workers particularly with the proposed new pay system recently announced to meet their needs. She said it was necessary because where employers pretended to pay adequate remuneration to their workers, workers then pretend to work. Mrs Anafo was speaking at the opening of the 2nd Quadrennial and 49th National Delegates Conference of GNAT in Accra under the theme: Eradicating Poverty Through Education.
The four-day conference would attract about 750 delegates, who would review among other things, GNAT's Five-year Development Plan for 2002-2006; The Report on the Presidential Commission on Pensions; Capitation Grant and The Computerised School Selection System. Ms Anafo noted that teachers remained the pivot of all experimentation in education and unless their minds were oriented properly towards the country's educational programmes, the possibility of being able to communicate to pupils and students would be a mirage. It would constitute professional dishonesty for the Association to feign ignorance of the poor performance and toward the behaviour of some teachers both in the classroom and in the offices that undermined the professional code of conduct.
She noted that members would be persuaded to work hard in response to the massive investment the Government had been making in the education industry.
Ms Anafo commended the Government for the implementation of the Capitation Grant policy adding, however, that the teething problems bedevilling the programme should be looked at critically so that nobody became a victim of circumstances arising out of the ineffective implementation of the policy. She said the Government had promised to assist teachers on distance learning and also grant loans to teachers to procure their own means of transport and expressed the hope that the necessary formalities would be concluded to make the Government's assurance a reality. Ms Anafo said GNAT would continue to play its traditional role of promoting the welfare of its members, bargaining for improved conditions of employment and articulating collective views on national politics and exerting more influence on members to transform their behaviour and attitudes to work.
Three former GNAT Executives, Mr Kwame Amo Dako, Former National Vice President, Mr Yaw Asiedu Mensah, National Vice President and Mrs Gloria Kwakye, National Treasurer were honoured for their contributions to GNAT.
There were solidarity messages from other sister organisations from Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Denmark, Uganda, Cote d'Ivoire, Senegal and the Pan African Teachers Centre.