Upgrading and promotion of teachers to various ranks in Ghana have been very smooth until quite recently. In 2019, for instance, no teacher under the Ghana Education Service(GES) was promoted to the ranks of Principal Superintendent(PS), Assistant Directors II and I( AD II&I) and Deputy Director (DD). Teachers, after being unduly delayed for a whole year, finally wrote an aptitude test for promotion in February 2020. Although candidates were promised by the GES that their results would be out by the end of March, nothing has still been heard.
Now, zeroing in on the upgrading of teachers who have successfully completed their bachelor's degrees to the rank of PS, data gathered from several teachers across the country have revealed a sharp discrepancy in the promotion criteria for teachers due.
In 2015, there was a directive by the GES which compelled teachers to obtain permission from the Office before they would be upgraded. The move was to delay teachers some years before being promoted since newly recruited teachers were forbidden from pursuing further studies and were only given approval after four years of service.
In my estimation, this directive should be quashed because it is simply unfair for new teachers who would join the service in 2022/23 with bachelor's degree to be automatically upgraded to PS while in-service teachers would have to wait for six years before being upgraded to the same rank. (Note that these degree teachers did not seek permission before attending the University Colleges of Education).
The current situation, after a snowball interaction with some teachers revealed that various districts/municipals seem to acting differently as far as upgrading is concerned. While almost all teachers in the Northern Region who completed college in 2014 and have successfully completed their degree have been upgraded to PS, their counterparts in Eastern, Central Region and other regions have been denied.
In the Central Region, for instance, upgrading to PS after completion of a bachelor's degree "is a taboo" according to some aggrieved teachers, who have threatened to seek release to other regions. The aggrieved teachers, after following up to their district and regional offices, were told that failure to upgrade them was "an order from above". If this order from above is really to go by, why then, are teachers in the Greater Accra Region being upgraded howbeit the "above"(GES headquarters) remain in that same region?
The most irking and painful part of this unfortunate episode is that most teachers who had genuinely sought for, and had been granted permission by the Office to pursue further studies have also been denied being upgraded to PS. Teachers who failed to obtain approval letters from GES to pursue further studies have zero chance of promotion/upgrading, rendering their studies a complete waste of time and money.
If all teachers in this category were denied the upgrade by all regions and districts, it would be quite fair, but for some teachers in some districts and regions to be upgraded with others denied resonates the tenth commandment by Napoleon and his cohorts in the book, 'Animal Farm' that " All animals are equal but some are more equal equal than the others".
Should this continue, it would create a situation where junior staff(who are fortunate to be upgraded) would rank higher than some senior staff(unfortunate ones who were denied upgrading). This would eventually breed a lot of saboteurs especially when their juniors are handed leadership positions due to their higher rank. This can prove to be a major inhibiting factor against the achievement of educational goals.
The leadership of the Ghana National Association of Teachers(GNAT) should compel the GES to scrap immediately the directive which makes newly posted teachers wait for four long years before being allowed to pursue further studies.
Again, GNAT should fight for the scrapping of obtaining approval letters from the GES by teachers before pursuing further studies. So far as the courses studies are GES approved courses, they should be upgraded.
Finally, GNAT should push tirelessly for her numerous members whose upgrading have been locked down by the GES to be upgraded as soon as possible so that they do not lag behind the promotional ladder.
GNAT Chairman, Asuboni Rails Local.