Politics

Take some responsibility for the lack of teachers in rural areas – Richard Ahiagbah to teacher unions

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The New Patriotic Party’s Communications Director, Richard Ahiagbah says members of the various teachers associations must bear some of the responsibility for the lack of teachers in rural areas

This, Mr Ahiagbah said, is because many teachers after years of training turn down postings to rural areas, while others seek transfers from there.

Speaking on Newsfile, on JoyNews, Mr Ahiagbah said that “people don’t want to accept posting to the rural areas. At the end of the day, you’ve been given teacher-trainee allowances, and nursing-trainee allowances, you have finished school, and the government has spent on you. In fact, one of the motivations for paying those allowances is that you will accept the posting.”

“So the teacher association groups should not be looking to government, they should be looking to their group members.”

He insists leadership must question members for refusing the postings even after accepting the allowances.

He stated that this has created a shortage of teachers in rural areas with some schools having less than five teachers running the facilities.

“I think the government has done well so far, but the practical issue requires all of us to pitch in,” he stressed.

His comment follows the Education Minister’s insistence at a symposium that Ghana did not have a teacher shortage but a deployment challenge.

This was after Registrar of the National Teaching Council, Dr Christian Addai-Poku, also at the event, raised concern about the high attrition rate in the nation’s education sector, stating the threat it poses towards the future of the nation’s educational system and development.

According to him, early this year a little over 16,000 Ghanaian teachers applied to the Department of Education in the UK for employment and by June 13th 2023, 10,000 of the applicants with Ghana Teacher Licenses had been certified to work in the UK without any further assessment (qualified teacher status test) by the UK government.

He appealed to the government and all other stakeholders to put in place the right measures to curb the situation to avoid looming danger.

But Mr Ahiagbah believes that aside from encouraging teachers to take up postings in rural areas, Parliament can create policies that ensure incentives are given to such teachers among others to motivate them.

“Article 36 under the Directive Principle of State Policy says that we should make a conscious effort to balance this development between rural and urban areas. So if that is the policy then you (MPs) are properly armed with a legislative capacity to make policy in that direction so that government’s allocation of resources will prioritize rural areas.”

He was optimistic that Parliament’s involvement will ensure that “the kinds of development that must be there are put there like building schools, ensuring that accommodation is prepared for people when they go there, some allowances are given to them and maybe their professional development also receives attention, so there’s a special regime created – an incentive to drive the acceptance of postings to those areas.”

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