The Minister of Education, Professor Naana Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang, says her ministry has declared 2014 a year of zero tolerance for teacher absenteeism.
She said that was in view of the increasing rate of teacher absenteeism, as she found on her rounds to some schools last year.
Addressing the fourth Quadrennial and 51st Delegates Conference of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) in Accra on Wednesday, Prof. Opoku-Agyemang asked for a rededication on the part of all teachers in the country, stressing that �investments must match output since governments have invested a lot into education.�
Saying she was appalled at the rate of teacher absenteeism, Prof. Opoku-Agyemang added: �We have declared zero tolerance for absenteeism in all institutions, especially at the basic level, this year.�
She cautioned teachers that visits to their schools would be unannounced, and asked the GNAT to partner with the Ministry of Education (MoE) to deal with teacher absenteeism.
�This should and must be better � we are all paid to make things better,� she stated, assuring the teachers all issues of concern that had been brought to her notice would be dealt with appropriately at another forum.
Taking his turn to address the delegates, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Nii Armah Ashietey, called on the GNAT and organised labour to employ all avenues in resolving labour agitations, and only resort to strikes as the last option.
He also asked for more negotiations on the minimum wage and pledged his ministry�s �collaboration with the MoE and the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) to find answers to the increasing graduate unemployment brought about as a result of people pursuing courses that were not in demand on the labour market.
In his fraternal greetings to the conference, Mr Fred van Leeuwen, the General Secretary of Education International (EI), the global body of teachers� organisations, urged governments to invest at least six per cent of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in education to ensure quality teaching and provision of learning tools.
He disclosed that a study done by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) from 2010 to 2012 showed that investment in education globally had reduced by seven per cent, while a financial gap of US$86 million had been created.
Meeting MDG target
Mr van Leeuwen said although only 700 days were left to achieve the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) for education, 57 million children of primary school age were still out of school and that included 12 million children from sub-Saharan Africa who couldn�t go to school because of armed conflicts.
He also stated that about 5.2 million more teachers were needed globally, with sub-Saharan Africa needing more teachers than elsewhere.
Outgoing GNAT General Secretary
Mr Leeuwen, General Secretary of EI, paid glowing tribute to the outgoing General Secretary of GNAT, Mrs Irene Duncan-Adanusa, for impacting not only the GNAT but also the African region of the EI, where she served as an executive member.
A representative of the Retired Teachers Association pleaded that retiring teachers should not be made to travel from remote areas in the country just to access their gratuity; rather, a system must be put in place to enable them to do that at their last post.
While delivering his fraternal greeting, the General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Mr Kofi Asamoah, also commended the GNAT General Secretary for the qualitative role she had played on the organised labour front. The same sentiment was shared by the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Nii Armah Ashietey.
Source: Daily Graphic/Ghana
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