The deputy Minister of Education in charge of Tertiary Education, Mr Samuel Okudjeto Ablakwa has admonished teachers, who engage in side businesses during school hours to desist from such practices.
He expressed worry over how a good number of teachers in schools were engaging in the sales of rechargeable cards, selling of pastries in schools, driving taxis among others, to the detriment of their pupils.
A situation he likened to the proverbial biblical case of serving two masters and cautioned that, “as Christ told us long ago, you can’t serve two masters… You either sell credit cards or be a teacher, you can’t do the two”.
The deputy minister, who was commissioning an ultra-modern office complex for the Ketu North district Education directorate at Dzodze in the Volta region on Friday, said such bad practices coupled with other “serious management issues” were the cause of the fallen standard of education in the region and Ghana as a whole.
According to him, findings and analysis by the Ministry revealed that the inability of directors and managers to supervise and carry out managerial issues has brought about such bad practices including drunkenness and absenteeism.
He disclosed that “teacher absenteeism in the Volta region is the highest, over 45percent as compared to the national average of 27percent”.
He wondered why private basic schools which are bereft of qualified and underpaid teachers are rather doing better than public basic schools which has more qualified and better paid teachers, adding ‘the current situation is unacceptable because the performance of public second cycle and tertiary institutions are much better than the private ones, hence the need for the same results at the basic level.’
Mr. Ablakwa therefore charged education managers not to be “arm chair directors, relying on only paper reports and hearsay accounts” but also go to the field to ensure strict supervision and proper management of schools.
|The ultra modern Ketu North District Education Office Complex|
The complex, constructed at the cost of GH¢ 507,557.88, is part of a 19.67 million dollars education facility from USAID in support of 150 education projects in 38 deprived districts in the country, with Government of Ghana providing a 33 percent “matching funds”.
He also urged chiefs and opinion leaders to show interest in education to ensure that teachers and managers give off their best to improve standards in their communities.
A representative from USAID office in Accra, Ms Yvonne Oberhollenzer, said her outfit remained committed to partnering Ghana in education to ensure that every child got the opportunity to succeed, saying “every educated child is a golden opportunity for Ghana’s future”.
Mr Francis Ganyaglo, Deputy Volta Regional Minister on his part, lauded USAID for the support and hoped that the facility would improve academic performance in the district.
He urged the stakeholders to cultivate a maintenance culture to preserve the life span of the complex.
Ketu North District Chief Executive, Mr Kofi Lawson, disclosed that since 2008, the district had executed 56 education projects out of 115 development projects.
He assured that the complex would be put to good use to improve academic performance in the area.