Friday, March 11, 2011

Where in heaven are the REWARDS FOR TEACHERS?

In Ghana, being a teacher is a curse-not just an ordinary curse but a strong one that hangs loosely on you for the rest of your life and even your generation who decides to become teachers, unless something drastic happens. And such an unfortunate thing has come about because of the incompetence of our political leaders-the ruling elites over the years.

Simply put, they lack common sense and direction, so the teaching profession to them is as useless as their worn out shoes. It is unfortunate but that is the truth. Barely a week ago, Ghanaian teachers started raising agitations of wanting to vacate the classrooms after it emerged that monies meant for them had been drastically slashed. The government says it was putting the teachers on a Single Spine Salary scheme with the hope that teachers will see remarkable improvements in their salaries and allowances. But when the figures were released, it was rather the opposite.

And rather than address the issues soon as the teachers started with their agitations, government officials were busy trying to play smart. Even a meeting between the finance ministry and the education ministry together with the teachers did not yield much, as the government officials were rather unconcern about the issues raised by the teachers. Highly unhappy with the attitude of government, the teachers issued a warning they will boycott the then independent celebration. Betty Mould Iddrisu, minister for education, rather than say something sensible, told the teachers off. She claimed the celebration was for the children and the teachers’ presence will change nothing.

he was wrong; the teachers taught her a bitter lesson when they disrupted a debate organised for students at the second cycle schools as part of the celebration. Then the government officials appeared to be wising up. And even before they could go any further, the National Association of Graduate Teachers, NAGRAT, issued a statement asking its members across the country to vacate post. It was pathetic to see deputy minister of education Mahama Ayariga desperately attempt an explanation. His comments did not do anything right to assuage the anger of the teachers.

Not even the words of President John Mills during the 54 celebration parade that government will rectify the ‘anomalies.’

But his words did not strike anything meaningful to the striking teachers, who saw his seemingly ‘I CARE FOR YOU’ speech as déjà vu or better still business as usual.

It is unfortunate but the refusal of NAGRAT officials to even heed to the president’s appeal shows how the man has chipped the trust most Ghanaians have for him. This was the same president who said during his tenure teachers will be smiling to the castle to thank him for giving them more. Events on the ground however are the direct opposite; teachers are rather upset with him and even questioning his sincerity. It is unfortunate but the president’s sincerity is now a charade to many people in this country.

Those who are smiling to the castle are his boys grabbing the brown envelopes and lying to the rest of us they are sacrificing to build a ‘BETTER GHANA.’ The government has spent more than two years in office and basic things like teachers’ salaries should not be an issue to the extent that they will have to boycott classes.

I’m not one of those who endorses the actions of the teachers but I think the incompetence of either the ministry of education, the accountant and controller’s general’s department and the so-called FAIR WAGES commission, are responsible for such a mess which the government is not handling well.

And as the government struggles to find antidote to the incident, you have silly officials from the ruling new patriotic party trying to make political gains out if it, as if their reign did not see anything of such magnitude. The administration under John Kufour, who still walks about beating his chest for living a so-called healthy economy, also messed up big time.

The incompetence of the president’s himself was very glaring. Now in opposition, members of the party are not offering anything constructive as to how to resolve the impasse. Their leader, Nana Akufo-Addo, is too desperate to become president to the extent that anytime he opens his mouth; a lot of foolish comments come from there. There is no alternative regarding the direction of the economy. He is desperate to come and loot for himself and cronies. Ghana remains absolutely zero on his list.

When a country that is 54 years has an opposition that is as desperate to come back to power in the same way the ruling government is desperate to stay in power, what you get is the mess we are all grappling with.

At the beginning of the year the President promised an ‘ACTION YEAR’ but events on the ground show it is the usual rhetorics from a politician who talks too much and does very little.
I’m still wondering where one can point to me the exact spot in heaven where teachers can go and collect their rewards.

God help us.

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