The Registrar of the National Teaching Council (NTC), Dr Christian Addai-Poku, has stated that the high attrition rate of teachers poses a great threat to the future of the nation’s education sector.
The registrar stated that, for instance, earlier this year, a little over 16,000 Ghanaian teachers had applied to the Department of Education in the United Kingdom (UK) for employment and by June 13, 10,000 of the applicants with Ghana Teacher Licences had been certified to work in the UK.
He said the teachers were offered placements without any further assessment for qualified teacher status test by the UK government.
In an address at the opening of a two-day symposium in Takoradi, Dr Addai-Poku appealed to the government and all other stakeholders to put in place the right measures to curb the situation to avoid the looming danger.
The symposium precedes this year’s Ghana Teacher Prize scheduled to take place today in the Western regional capital.
The symposium brought together education practitioners, academia and policymakers to discuss topical issues.
It created a major platform for various agencies to engage participants on important policy issues and also offered a stage for schools to exhibit some innovations from their schools.
It further provided a forum for the shortlisted award winners to showcase some of the things they did differently to merit this national recognition, as well as a dive into the theme of this year’s World Teachers Day celebration.
Dr Addai-Poku posited that although the country produced a huge number of qualified teachers each year, the high attrition rate turned around to create a shortage yearly across the country.
He commended all stakeholders in the nation’s education space for their roles and efforts being made towards attaining the best education for the nation’s future leaders.
The Registrar of the NTC pledged to collaborate with both local and international agencies that were ready to partner them, to shape the training and professionalism of the Ghanaian teacher so they could give their best towards the transformation of the nation’s economy.
The Deputy Minister of Education in charge of TVET, Gifty Twum Ampofo, stated that the theme for this year’s Ghana Teacher Prize: “The teachers we need for the education we want:
The global imperative to reverse the teacher shortage”, was apt and touched on the spine of the crisis at hand.
She said when examined, it would shed light on its multifaceted dimensions while advocating a comprehensive solution.
Ms Twum Ampofo stated that the role of teachers had never been more critical, given a world that is “rapidly advancing in its quest for knowledge acquisition, where it requires constant verification and authentication of information before learners can consume it”.
The Deputy Minister said teachers were not merely conduits of information, but rather the architects of the collective future, shaping the minds of the younger ones, fostering critical thinking, and instilling values and attitudes that transcended generations.
“Let’s join the National Teaching Council and the Ministry of Education in this exploration to deal with the teacher shortage, acknowledging the fact that reversing the teacher shortage is a long-term endeavour that requires collaboration between governments, educational institutions, civil society and private sector,” Ms Twum Ampofo said.
Invaluable teacher role
A former Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University of Education, Winneba, Professor Andy Ofori-Birikorang, who was a guest speaker, indicated that the role of teachers in the nation’s development agenda could not be underestimated.
“Teachers are responsible for the society’s health, harmony and prosperity, they are the architects and engineers of everything we call societal future”.
“Through the training teachers give to our children and, sometimes adults, they lay the foundation for the progressive and prosperous society we yearn for,” he stated.
Prof. Ofori-Birikorang recounted how through the instrumentality of teachers, children were brought up the right way and shown the socio-cultural and moral compass of society.