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24.05.2006 Education

¢47bn needed to pay salaries of teachers on study leave

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Mr Michael Kenneth Nsowah, Acting Director General of the Ghana Education Service (GES), on Tuesday said GES required about 47 billion cedis to pay salaries of teachers on study leave for the 2006/2007 academic year.

He said 3,000 out of 8,311 applicants, in addition to 11,000 candidates on distance learning, was the quota approved by the GES Council to be granted study leave. These teachers would be pursuing either first degree or post-graduate courses in some priority subject areas this academic year.

Mr Nsowah was addressing a workshop at Ajumako in the Central Region to sensitise Directors of Education on the allocation of study leave quota for the various regions.

The workshop was also to deliberate on the modalities regarding the grant of study leave with pay. They include review of approved letters, extension of study leave, deferment of study leave, study leave outside the country, correspondence, signatory, proper procedure, monitoring of study leave beneficiaries and submission of final approved lists, bond and monitoring forms.

Mr Nsowah said the GES Headquarters had been given 50 allocations to cater for applicants for local institutions and overseas institutions.

Ashanti Region had the highest quota of 569 out of 1,603 applications followed by Volta Region, which was given 463 against 1,304 applicants. Central Region had 406 out of 1,143 and Eastern had 400 out of 1,128. Northern Region had 255 out of 720, Greater Accra had 246 out of 692, Western had 198 out of 557, Brong Ahafo had 151 out of 426, Upper East was given 143 out of 403 and Upper West had 119 out of 335. One more application would be approved later.

Mr Nsowah said the allocation of quotas to each region and district was based on the number of qualified applicants they submitted. He said all regional and district directors were required to constitute committees in various regions and districts as early as possible to select qualified applicants to be considered for the grant of study leave with pay on the existing criteria.

The criteria for selection of qualified applicants takes into consideration teachers in deprived area schools, those who had served for 10 years and above, those who served between six and nine years, and from three to five years.

Mr Nsowah appealed to directors to ensure that priority was given to teachers who had served for long periods instead of those who were still serving their bonds.

He said a shortlist of applicants should be published in the regions and the districts to enable affected teachers take informed decision.

He added that the names of teachers who were not granted study leave with pay and were also not teaching in the classroom should be deleted from the payroll to avoid the problems of ghost names. The study leave programme over the years has been fraught with many challenges to the detriment of the service, partly due to the large number of teachers gaining admission into the various institutions in a particular year.

Mr Nsowah said the system had now been decentralized and that responsibility had shifted to the regions and districts who should identify qualified personnel to be considered for study leave and grant them study leave with pay after scrutinising their application forms. This was based on the assumption that regions were familiar with the teachers and could detect falsification of personal records. He said though the system had been decentralized some teachers kept on rushing to the headquarters for solution to their problems on study leave, which did not augur well for the service.

Mr Nsowah said teachers who gained admission into tertiary institutions refused to wait for their study leave approval letters before they entered into those institutions.

"They later come pleading with us to grant them study leave with pay when they see that the going is not easy without pay. Management would not entertain those requests any longer," he cautioned. He urged regional and district directors to put in mechanisms to resolve these perennial problems, which really went to damage the image of the service.

Mr Nsowah said failure by beneficiaries to serve the bond would amount to breach of the agreement and the beneficiary of the guarantor would be made to pay 30 million cedis.

Ms Nancy Hooper Opoku, Acting Director Human Resource and Management Division, said all technical school teachers without any formal training from the teacher training colleges and who had been recruited to teach should serve for three years before applying for study leave with pay.