Thursday, 18 July 2013

GES To Punish Absentee Teachers

The Minister of Education, Professor Jane Naana Opoku Agyeman deserves a thunderous applause on her decision to sanction some staff of the Ghana Education Service for absenteeism. The Minister took the decision during an unannounced visit to some basic schools in the Greater Accra, Eastern and Volta Regions. Some teachers and Head teachers who were not at post during Professor Opoku Agyeman's visit are to be sanctioned by the Director-General of the GES who was part of the Minister's entourage. The Minister observed that supervision seems to have broken down in some schools. Prof. Opoku Agyeman took a decisive decision which most superiors fail to do because they fear to court the displeasure of their subordinates.

Teachers are a group of people seen as role models in society. Students learn largely from their teachers. In recent times however, it appears discipline is not receiving priority attention within the teaching fraternity. Some teachers engage in all manner of malfeasance unbecoming of their profession, some even smoke and drink openly in front of their students. Others impregnate children they are supposed to teach. Recently teachers went on strike refusing to teach for several days because they had problems with their salaries. They paraded placards with unsavory language. Gone were the days when we had supervisors visiting schools to check on the lesson notes of teachers and ensure that they did their work as required. These days, the opposite is the case. In the absence of proper supervision, wayward teachers tend to do their own thing engaging pupils in all sorts of menial jobs. Some trade openly in the schools without the Head-teachers reprimanding them. Others extort monies from their students and some fail to attend classes only to organize extra classes for which, they demand huge fees. These negative practices do not pertain to teachers alone; it is all over in the Public Service. Lateness to work, absent without permission , open trading at the workplace, malingering, working lotto at work, and other petty acts which affect productivity seem to be the order of the day. Superiors who try to check these acts are described in derogatory terms so they tread cautiously. Paradoxically, loafers are the first to go to the banks at the end of the month. Simply said, our work culture is not the best. As former President Kufuor once said workers pretend to work and government pretends to pay them. But should that be the case?

The Single Spine Pay Policy has drastically shot up the salary levels of almost every worker, so, government must demand that workers truly earn their salaries. Supervision at the workplace needs to be strengthened to enable the nation get value for money. In the developed world, they do not joke with their work ethics. That is why they are able to make it. Ministers and other government appointees must emulate Professor Jane Naana Opoku Agyeman. As she frankly put it at a recent encounter with this writer, "she is not in to court cheap popularity". Late President Atta Mills paid surprise visits to a number of organisations and the revelations were scathing. Ministers and District Chief Executives must supervise projects they initiate to ensure they are done according to specification. It is unfortunate a lot of government funds are draining into individual pockets for either shoddy work or no work done. People are connecting electricity or water free of charge because, people at the helm of affairs of these utilities either do not care or are colluding with such people. When we talk about corruption, people think it is only limited to government appointees. What corruption simply means is that using state office for private gains. So until we act as checks on each other, the canker of corruption will never cease. We say ‘Ayekoo’ to Professor Naana Opoku Agyeman. She has indeed trodden where others failed to tread.


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