Home Opinion Teachers! Our Pockets Are Not Empty, We Only Lack Fiscal Tightening

Teachers! Our Pockets Are Not Empty, We Only Lack Fiscal Tightening

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Mr Confidence K Gbeklui
Mr Confidence K Gbeklui

Source: Confidence K. Gbeklui, GNAT Member

Teachers are moneyed but most of us require financial discipline. The Teachers’ Fund is a contributing factor to the mess we find ourselves in. Teachers’ appetite for loans makes them poor and not the quantum of salary they earn.

I am a professional teacher. Upon graduating from the Teacher Training College, renamed College of Education, I decided to pursue Business Administration (banking and finance option) to secure a good job at the bank and work in air-conditioned offices. Upon consultations, I enrolled in one of the private universities in Accra to pursue my dream.

I went through the three-year course and completed it successfully. I wrapped up my national service the following year in anticipation of landing my dream job at the bank.

I put in a series of job applications and attended interviews. I did a comparative analysis of the new job’s proposed salary, yet I still preferred teaching to the banking job.

I tried to juxtapose teaching as a profession with other jobs in Ghana and I can confidently say that teaching is a good job with flexible time to run other businesses.

I have observed over the years that our Teachers’ Mutual Fund managers are a contributing factor to the financial crisis of teachers in Ghana.

Without much ado, I want to question the importance of the Teachers’ Mutual Fund and the establishment of the regional Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) hostels.

In my opinion, these investments make the least impact on the life of teachers and must be reviewed. Financial resources generated from the contribution of teachers should be invested into meaningful income-generating ventures to yield profits. Dividends from the Mutual Fund should benefit teachers by uplifting their economic status rather than causing depression.

It is high time we did a penetrating examination of our own beliefs and motives and not run to the government all the time begging for salary increments.

Teachers have the numbers to cause major shakeups in the banking sector in Ghana and determine the lifestyle of its members, without necessarily asking for an annual wage increase.

We go for loans with higher interest rates to finance rent, marriage, education, birthdays and even to propose love.

Do you know that those who work at the bank take home approximately Five Thousand Ghana Cedis (GHS5,000) just as teachers at the rank of ADII? The difference is the financial institutions take care of the banker’s welfare. Some welfare provisions they enjoy include clothing allowance, interest-free home and car loans, etc. Can the same be said about GNAT and its members?

Establishing a Teachers’ Fund to serve as a supplementary fund to aid teachers in times of need and to enhance members’ livelihood is a brilliant idea.

Let us reexamine the role of such funds among others and get better fund managers to help streamline the terms and conditions that will benefit the totality of members as the standard method in corporate governance.

Teachers are not broke! We lack the needed leadership to liberate us from the shackles of poverty.

Leaders must lead, direct, and inspire others to action. Thousands of lions led by a sheep will lose any fight any day compared to hundreds of sheep led by a lion. We are in a leadership crisis as teachers.

Our problem as teachers is not financial but leadership issues.

Recommendations

The Ghana Education Service and Ministry of Education, in partnership with the Ghana National Association of Teachers, must introduce financial literacy courses in all Colleges of Education.

The GES, MoE, GNAT, and the Ministry of Finance should establish a bank or partner with an existing one to reduce the interest rates on teachers’ loans.

Heads of schools must introduce breakfast and lunch for staff as we pretend to do at the various SHS.

Thank you

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