President Nana Akufo-Addo has said his government cares about teachers to the extent that his administration is building 10,000 housing units for them on affordable terms.
Speaking at the 6th Quadrennial National Delegates Conference and the 90th-anniversary of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) held in Kumasi, Ashanti Region on Tuesday, 4 January 2022 on the theme: ‘Surviving as a reliable and vibrant teacher union in the 21st century’, President Akufo-Addo said the “government recognises that all modern successful nations that have experienced extraordinary results in the transformation of human capital and economic development have shown that teacher quality is, perhaps, the single most important determinant of their success”.
Thus, he said: “For us in Ghana also to make a success of our nation, we must pay attention to teachers”.
“It is only a group of well-trained and motivated teachers that can help deliver the educated and skilled workforce we require to transform our economy and nation”, the President acknowledged.
He recalled how “many years ago, our society respected and honoured our teachers”, saying: “To be introduced anywhere was a teacher came with enormous prestige”.
“Sixty years ago, being a teacher, even a pupil-teacher, was a respectable and fulfilling job and a teacher could build a decent house through his or her salary alone”, he mentioned.
“Unfortunately”, the President observed, “we cannot imagine such a scenario for today’s newly qualified teachers or even teachers who are near retirement”.
“This is not good enough and that is why my government remains committed to improving the circumstances of our teachers”, he noted.
“We believe that teaching should not be seen as a stopgap measure or a job of last resort but as a viable choice to enter a well-respected profession with positive long-term career prospects and good benefits”, the President said.
According to him, “we’ve restored, since coming into office five years ago, and we continue to pay teacher trainee allowances, which were abolished by the previous administration”.
He said in addition to the “yearly average increase in salaries over the last five years, my government has, for the first time in our nation’s history, been paying a professional allowance to teachers” and also: “We’ve abolished the three-month pay policy for teachers”.
Concerning teachers benefits, he said: “We have cleared the arrears. Let me repeat: we have cleared the arrears and promotions due teachers have also been effected”.
The government, the President intimated, “is also committed to the development of affordable housing for teachers all across the nation”.
“The current initiative will involve the provision of housing for both mortgage and rental”, he explained, observing: “I’m fully aware the one challenge facing teacher ownership of homes, beyond finance, is their inability to purchase homes where they intend to retire”.
The president, however, noted that “through a subsidised loan programme, teachers will be provided an opportunity to own homes, houses in desired locations in various parts of the country”.
The Ministry of Education, he added, “is working with the National Service Scheme on this”.
In addition, the president pointed out, the Ministry of Works and Housing “is in discussions with teacher unions, including your own [GNAT], to provide more housing opportunities for teachers”.
He said: “Within the next two years, it is proposed that 10,000 housing units, on affordable terms, will be developed for teachers across the country”.
“This, we all know, is the tip of the iceberg but it is a good beginning”, the president said.
The president also said he was happy that the teachers were satisfied with the one teacher-one laptop programme and promised to address any lingering concerns. “I’m glad to hear how much you welcome the supply of laptops and promise you that the other related matters of concern of which the national president referred to in her speech, will be addressed.”
“Good relations between GNAT and my government are a matter of importance to me and I’ll do my very best to promote such relations”, he said