Asantehene Otumfour Osei Tutu II has honoured 130 public basic schools teachers from rural areas across the country held at the Manhyia Palace, Kumasi in the Ashanti Region.
The Otumfuo Teachers and Education Workers Awards was introduced six years ago to reward and motivate teachers who work in rural areas.
Under the theme, “Build the Foundation Now; Support Basic Education", the award since its inception in 2011, appreciates hardworking teachers who have taught for five years in such deprived areas.
The award scheme initiated by the Otumfuo Osei Tutu II Charity Fund (OOTCF) has awarded over 600 teachers across the country with various prizes including cash, laptops, refrigerators and scholarships to further their education from master’s degree to PhD.
The Asantehene in his address commended teachers for their selfless and dedicated role towards improving the educational system in the country, most especially in the rural communities.
“It is of great pleasure to find teachers who are serving selflessly in deprived communities and even at instances of diminutive resources. This and many more are the issues that prompted such a colourful ceremony today,” he stated.
Asantehene continued, “We want this platform to serve as motivation and appreciation for all teachers to continue the good work done”.
He commended all stakeholders including the supporting institutions and individuals who have enhanced the initiative since its inception in 2011.
The Asantehene calls for collaborative efforts between individuals and institutions who are not stakeholders to come on board to encourage teachers who are wholeheartedly contributing towards the progress of education in the deprived communities in the country.
“I want to especially appreciate all stakeholders for their noble contributions that have sustained the initiative since 2011, on behalf of Nananom I want to commend you for your tireless effort towards the initiative,” he emphasised.
In her welcome address, the wife of Asantehene, Lady Julia Osei Tutu commended the teachers and lauded their efforts for the great work they are doing for mother Ghana.
Some of the awardees expressed delight for the honour done them by the Asantehene. The recipients also expressed their gratitude for the award and said they were inspired to work harder.
The Otumfuo Osei Tutu II Charity Foundation (OOTCF) has over the years continued to support the general well-being of Ghanaian citizens with projects. It has four thematic areas; Education, Health, Water and Sanitation and Culture and Heritage. In education, the Foundation is focused on helping to reverse the falling standards of education in Ghana by enhancing access to good quality education through the provision of scholarship schemes to needy but brilliant students, provision of educational materials, mobile learning project, constructions and rehabilitation of classrooms, teacher’s quarters and provision of boreholes in schools among others.
As part of its annual educational projects, the Foundation over the past five years has been recognizing teachers and other educational workers through the Otumfuo Teachers Awards. The mission of this event is to motivate and inspire teachers from deprived areas from all parts of the country.
For the purposes of this program a deprived area is classified as a community that lacks basic amenities such as safe drinking water, electricity and is generally difficult to be accessed by transportation.
Most deprived communities in Ghana are characterized by difficult and challenging conditions which often deter many teachers from accepting postings to such areas. There is constant lack of amenities such as electricity, potable water, means of transportation etc. Those who accept to work in these areas sacrifice a lot of comfort in order to contribute towards the provision of formal education to children in such communities.
These teachers also have to work in schools with serious lack of resources such as the unavailability of classrooms compared to their colleagues in more urbanized locations.
These prevailing conditions in addition to the reluctance to certain personnel to live and work in rural communities often culminate in poor educational performances and a general lack of interest among the children especially in rural areas. This unfortunate situation further perpetuates the cycle of poverty and deprivation in rural areas.
The Otumfuo Teachers Awards is aimed at appreciating the commitment of teachers who regardless of the prevalent conditions in their communities have stayed the course and made valuable contributions to education and development.
The Otumfuo Osei Tutu II Charity Foundation (OOTCF) is uniquely positioned to undertake this awards scheme because of its ongoing commitment to facilitating the provision of quality education in rural areas by improving the learning environment of such areas for the children. This has been executed through the provision of classrooms, textbooks, scholarships and other support. The Foundation considers that recognizing and rewarding teachers in deprived rural communities further demonstrates Otumfuo Osei Tutu II commitment to ensuring a holistic approach to improving education.