By Eunice Hilda Ampomah, GNA
Accra, Oct. 29, GNA – Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh, Minister of Education, says the Akufo-Addo-led administration as part of its achievements in the teacher upgrade, welfare and quality education, has upgraded Colleges of Education to University Colleges.
He said the government had also abolished the three-month pay policy, improved promotion system with an aptitude test, reinstated the teacher trainee allowance and increased the Book and Research allowance by 200 per cent from GHS500 to GHS1,500.
He outlined the achievements on Thursday at the sixth edition of the Government’s ‘Nation Building Updates’ programme, held in Accra, on the theme: “The Teacher at the Centre of Quality Education”.
Dr. Prempeh said the Ministry of Education had also introduced an annual allowance of GHS1,200 for professional teachers and GHS800 for non-professional teachers.
Other achievements, he said, were 91 per cent payment of teachers’ legacy arrears, the signing of collective agreement with pre-tertiary teacher unions for better conditions of service and the introduction of better accountability systems with the compliment of the Ghana Accountability for Learning Outcomes Project.
The Ministry also had an agreement with the University of Cape Coast to reduce the top-up duration from three years to one year for diploma holders effective 2021 academic year.
Measures had also been put in place to equip teachers with skills and knowledge to meet the national teaching standards and assessment framework, he said.
The Minister said government had also implemented teacher professionalism interventions through the setting up of the Professional Learning Community (PLC) for all teachers, where Wednesday afternoons had been set aside for teachers to share new ideas, methods and insights into teaching.
Moreover, it had also initiated the Continuous Professional Development (CPD) programme for teachers to have four days in a year to attain professional developments as well as the ‘Licensing Examination’ for professional teachers.
Dr. Prempeh said Government had established the Akenten Appiah-Menka University of Skills Training and Entrepreneurial Development to provide higher education in technical and vocational training and to train teachers for Technical and Vocational Education and Training Institutions.
Speaking on promise by the National Democratic Congress to reinstate ‘Teacher Responsibility Allowance’ when given the mandate, the Minister said Government had not taken the allowance off.
He said 35,515 staff were given the Responsibility Allowance in Basic and Senior High Schools and beneficiaries were Basic School Heads, Headmasters/Mistresses, Assistant Headmasters/Mistresses, Chaplains/Imams, Form Masters/Mistresses, Guidance & Counseling Coordinators, Heads of Departments (Programme Heads), Housemasters/Mistresses, and Unit Heads.
Other allowances teachers received were vehicle maintenance, kilometric, night, allowance for teachers in deprived and difficult areas, retention, protective clothing, advance to purchase means of transport, salary advance, special allowance, transfer grant, and permanent posting allowance, he said.
Dr Prempeh said government had since 2017, recruited 93,724 teaching and non-teaching staff into the pre-tertiary levels of education and disclosed that government had obtained clearance to employ 27,367 more by the end of 2020.
Out of the 93,724 employees, 24,472 are graduates, 10,310 are non-teaching staff, 3,232 are replacement staff and 55,710 are diplomats and others.
Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, the Minister of Information, said the updates were necessary for the government to be accountable to the citizenry, as the constitution required of all public offices.
He said it was important to make teachers the centre of providing quality education, as without them, no amount of interventions could bring about quality education.