The government has, with effect from this academic year, instituted a GHï¿½100 subsidy annually for teachers in the rural areas who pursue distance education.
This is in fulfillment of the government's pledge to create opportunities for teachers to access training and professional development, Mr. Alex TetteyEnyo, Minister of Education, has announced.
To this end, he said, the Ghana Education Service (GES) had been tasked to streamline the implementation of the study leave policy by linking study leave to teacher gaps in the delivery system.
Mr. Tettey-Enyo made the announcement yesterday when his ministry took its turn at the Meet-the-Press series in Accra to discuss issues pertaining to education delivery.
In a 17-page report, the Minister said, "the GES will continue to collaborate with teachers' unions in the review and implementation of the study leave policy so that it serves the best interest of the child, the teacher and the education system,"
Mr. Tettey-Enyo stated that the national focus would save resources and increase the number of qualified teachers who remained in the classroom and upgraded themselves, through distance learning." He said total enrolment of students in distance education programmes increased from 22,819 in 2007/2008 academic year to 31,994 in August 2009, an increase of 40 per cent.
On the training of pupil teachers under the Untrained Teachers' Diploma in Basic Education (UTDBE) Programme, he said, the GES had been mandated to enroll all pupil teachers into a four-year school-based in-service programme.
That would lead to the award of a Diploma in Basic Education, he said, adding that "currently 26,831 untrained teachers are receiving training under the programme".
Mr. Tettey-Enyo said teacher deployment and placement had been a major challenge to the GES "because this is characterized mainly by the failure of many teachers to accept postings to rural and deprived districts.
"As a result, teacher vacancies continue to increase in these areas compared with the urban and well-endowed districts". To reverse the trend, he said, new modalities for teacher deployment were being developed to promote equity in the allocation of teachers to reduce overlaps that had played the education system.
"Ultimately, the ministry expects that, it will address the challenges currently being encountered and which place a strain on the sector wage-bill," he said. He expressed the hope that teachers would support the new deployment process in an effort to promote quality education delivery. .
Mr. Tettey-Enyo said the country had moved close to meeting its target on enrolment in basic schools, adding that "statistics on the various stages within this level of education, indicate that, at the pre-school level, the number of public schools increased from 11,140 in the 2007/2008 academic year to 11,827 at the beginning of the 2008/2009 academic year".
Enrolment at pre-school increased from 1,258,483 in 2007/2008 to 1,338,454 in 2008/2009, and there was a two per cent increase in the number of public primary schools between 2007/2008 and 2008/2009 academic years, with the number of schools rising from 13,247 to 13,510 in the respective years. He said the ministry had commenced a procurement process to utilize one million dollars from the GETFund to procure tools and equipment to improve teachers and vocational education delivery.
He said the ministry would continue to resource the tertiary level by improving the academic facilities of tertiary schools. He said Information and Communication Technology (ICT) at Senior High Schools and Technical Institutes would be made an elective subject.
Mr. Tettey-Enyo reiterated the government's commitment to improving non-formal education by decreasing the national rate of adult illiteracy and improve gender parity of literate adults towards accelerated development of the country. The Minister announced that it was wrong for teachers to take offertory from pupils during normal school worship days says.
Also wrong is the practice where teachers engage pupils in trading activities during school hours. Consequently, the ministry has, with immediate effect placed a ban on both activities in all public basic schools nationwide.
"All forms of selling in schools and the collection of money at worship time by teachers are unauthorised and those who flout them will face sanctions, including suspension according to the dictates of our conditions of service, he said in an answer to a question," he said.
Source: The Ghanaian Times/Ghana
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