Teaching in Ghana is one of the domains that encompass the increased quantity of human resources. With the validity of over 45 teacher colleges in the country, one can easily predict the number of teachers who have added up to the profession annually. When we were young, we were told that if you couldn’t pass well to enter the university, the only option left for you is going to the training college to be trained as a teacher.
There was nothing desirable about going to the training college and becoming a teacher. This unattractiveness was the indication of the situation of teachers who were in the service. The wretched living by teachers sometimes back needed much to be desired. Others took going to college to become a teacher as a stepping stone to enable them to go to university or journey abroad or do something other than teaching.
With over 280,000 Ghanaians who call themselves teachers, we continue to ask ourselves whether the profession has changed in terms of better living standards or is still the same. Well, if you are a teacher, you will understand that our profession is still unattractive as it was in the days. Perhaps, globalization has changed the outlook of the personnel but the value that is needed to bring dignity and self-esteem largely remain the same and maybe worse.
Eleven years ago, the teaching profession was under pressure in terms of better earnings. The introduction of the Single Spine Salary was thought to have come to relieve the dilemma of teachers. When it was first introduced, many of us beamed with hope because we thought at long last things are going to change for good. Unfortunately, the much-touted Spine Salary only celebrated itself in 2009/10. Since then nothing has changed and the story that made teaching a desperate profession is being told differently. There is still enormous tension in the profession and many teachers are handicapped and continue to live on the border of hardship and desperation.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has commended teachers for the many sacrifices they have given to the nation in the code of their work just recently
The President retorted that no one in the world and beyond can become a millionaire just by taking teaching alone as their conditions of service because the constraint in the sector is nothing to write home about.
He made this sincere remark when the leadership of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) paid a courtesy call on the President to invite him to their 94th Anniversary.
According to the president, teaching is a sacrificial job and one cannot do teaching and expect to be a millionaire.
He urged that one must do other side jobs to help ease their salaries if they want to survive in the teaching field.
This was after he admitted to the poor conditions of service of teachers. According to him, though teachers do not desire such conditions of service, teaching is just a contribution job for the welfare of the society and thanked teachers for doing that very well.
Interacting with one teacher who gave up on the GES to seek greener pastures in the US just after 6 months, he stated
“I was teaching Biology at Sogakope Senior High.
GES needs an overhaul of their structures if they want to maintain their teachers. Day in day out, teachers are leaving the service for better conditions of service, and more importantly peace of mind.
Apart from better conditions of service, I left the GES because I felt the teaching profession in Ghana wasn’t challenging enough, at the time. I felt the need to make an impact on the profession internationally. I can’t achieve that with the GES.”
Story by S.K Frimpong