The Upper East Regional Chapter of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) has called on stakeholders to create a conducive work environment for teachers to give off their best.
The chapter said the conditions under which teachers taught in classrooms affected their delivery and stressed that if indeed stakeholders, especially the government desired quality education, it was incumbent on the government to ensure that the needed Teaching and Learning Materials (TLMs) were readily available for teachers.
“The conditions in the classrooms are not favourable. If we need quality education, let’s give teachers access to teaching and learning materials to be able to offer quality education,” Madam Ivy Betur Naaso, the Regional Chairperson of GNAT, said.
She said teachers were ready to bring change and instill discipline in pupils if provided with the necessary tools and the right environment.
Madam Naaso was speaking on the theme: “The Teachers We Need for the Education We Want: The Global Imperative to Reverse the Teacher Shortage,” at the Regional celebration of this year’s World Teachers Day, held at Kanjarga, a community in the Builsa South District.
The day, celebrated annually on October 5, was established by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1994 to commemorate the signing of the 1966 UNESCO and International Labour Organization recommendation on the status of teachers in the world.
Madam Naaso noted that even though the GNAT appreciated the value government and stakeholders placed on teachers in the form of praises, it was time for the government to go beyond the praises and meet their needs.
“The days we thought the teacher’s reward was in heaven are gone. We want our reward here on earth,” the Chair, who is the Headmistress of the Chiana Senior High School in the Kassena-Nankana West District, said.
Citing the Builsa South District as example, Madam Naaso indicated that the high student-teacher ratio in the area, where one teacher was to 190 pupils, was unacceptable, as compared to the ideal situation of a teacher to at most 40 students.
“This student-teacher ratio has placed a lot of stress on our teachers. Teachers are dying of stress. Senior High School teachers have taught from January 1, 2023 till date. We are teaching high numbers. Stress is killing us,” she said.
The Association’s Chair noted that even though many professional teachers were churned out from the various Colleges of Education across the country, a good number of them had deserted the classrooms owing to the poor work environment and the lack of TLMs.
Mr Johnson Baba Atogse, a Teacher at the Fumbisi Senior High/Agriculture School, who delivered the keynote address at the programme, said there were 198 Primary and Kindergarten (KG) teachers as against 7961 Primary/KG pupils in the District in 2023.
He said data from the District Directorate of the Ghana Education Service for the year further indicated that at the Junior High School (JHS) level, there were 127 teachers teaching 2360 JHS pupils, while 114 teachers taught 1866 students at the Senior High School level.
According to Mr Atogse, the situation was worst in other parts of Ghana, noting that the impact had grave consequences on education, and called for action to remedy the situation.
The Chief Executive for the area, Mr Daniel Kwame Gariba, described teachers as the front liners in the educational sector, and without them the sector would collapse.
He congratulated teachers for their contributions to education and the development of children in the country, and said government would not relent on its effort at ensuring access to quality education across the country.