By Alex Ababio
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo has stated that his Government has shown enumous commitments in investing more resources in the education sector in the country.
He noted that his New Patriotic Party Government was able to double public expenditure on education,as compared to previous NDC Government within five years of his administration.
“So great has this government’s commitment to education been that public expenditure on education has almost doubled from twenty billion, seven hundred million cedis (GH¢20.7 billion) between 2013 and 2016, that is in the Mahama era, to forty billion, four hundred million cedis (GH¢40.4 billion) between 2017 and 2020, that is in the Akufo-Addo era, representing an increase of some ninety five percent (95%).”
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, made this statement when he delivered a speech at the 6th Quadrennial National Delegates Conference of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, in Kumasi.
The Conference which, is the climaxed of the 90 years anniversary celebration of the Association is being organized under the theme : “GNAT At 90 : Surviving As A Reliable And Vibrant Teacher Union In The 21st Century”
Delegates from all the sixteen (16) regions in the country are expected to attend the conference , which is set to elect national officers for the next quadrennial.
President Akufo-Addo, was emphatic that his vision of a modern, profitable , aggressive Ghanaian economy, which is being taken under control by homegrown entrepreneurs, with productive employment for the majority of its nationals , required effective skilled economic players , stressing and for the nation to attain that there was need for an educated workforce.
“Through the implementation of the Free Senior High School policy, we are ensuring that value is being added to the intellect of every Ghanaian child. This is our surest way of succeeding in adding value to the Ghanaian economy, thereby helping to create acceptable, well-paying jobs for the young people of our country,” he said.
President Akufo Addo in this regard used the opportunity to commend all teachers in the country for their contribution to the nation building in ensuring that the education of Ghanaian children, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, has not been truncated.
“Continuous assessment, the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) and the West Africa Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE) have all been written by thousands and thousands of students, under your care and guidance, in conditions of safety and orderliness, and without incident. The nation is extremely appreciative of these acts of selflessness and patriotism,” he said
He further stated : “For us, in Ghana, also to make a success of our nation, we must pay attention to teachers. It is only a group of well trained and motivated teachers that can help deliver the educated and skilled workforce we require to transform our economy and nation”.
Recounting on the many initiatives implemented by his Government since 2017, President Akufo noted that his government had restored, since coming into office five years ago, and continued to pay, teacher trainee allowances, which were abolished by the ex-while NDC Government.
“In addition to the yearly average increase in salaries over the last five (5) years, my government is, for the first time in our nation’s history, paying a professional allowance to teachers. We have abolished the three (3) months’ pay policy for teachers, we have cleared the arrears, and promotions due teachers have also been effected,” he reiterated.
He assured that to prevent unnecessary delays in promotion of qualified teachers, Government will, in 2022, improve on the conduct of the aptitude test instituted by the Ghana Education Service, leveraging on lessons learnt from the one conducted in 2021.
President Akufo Addo hinted his Government’s had planed to facilitate provision of 10,000 units of affordable houses for teachers across the country.
“Government is also committed to the development of affordable housing for teachers all across the nation. The current initiative will involve the provision of housing for both mortgage and rental. I am fully aware that one challenge facing teacher ownership of homes beyond finance is their inability to purchase homes where they intend to retire,” he noted .
President Akufo-Addo, further noted that through a subsidised loan programme, teachers would be provided an opportunity to own houses in desired locations in various parts of the country, stating that the Ministry of Education was working with the National Service Scheme to realise this vision .
He stated that the Ministry of Works and Housing was in talks with teacher unions to provide more housing opportunities for teachers.
“Within the next two years, it is proposed that ten thousand (10,000) housing units on affordable terms will be developed for teachers across the country. This, as we all know, is the tip of the iceberg, but it is a good beginning,” he added.
Touching on the controversial issue of laptops for teachers, President Akufo-Addo expressed his appreciation regarding how the supply of laptops was embraced by teachers, and thus assured that the other related matters of concern will be addressed.
“Good relations between GNAT and my government are matters of importance to me, and I will do my best to promote such relations,” he added.