TEACHING THE FORGOTTEN PROFESSION
TEACHING: THE FORGOTTEN PROFESSION
By Isaac Ofori
The teaching profession in Ghana is one that even though popular lacks the needed honour and prestige.
It is said that many have taken to teaching not because of passion or the desire for the job but rather a stepping stone to reaching out to more honourable jobs.
One cannot fathom the reason why a profession could be disdained to such extent.
People cannot easily associate themselves with the teaching profession because they feel it comes some 50th in the professional job rankings in Ghana. Unlike the engineers and medical practitioners etc., teachers do not receive any accolades from the society. Teachers are encouraged to accept their nature of job and hope for a day their true reward will be handed over to them from heaven.
The question now comes to mind, what and what makes the teaching profession lack the needed prestige and honour?
There are numerous answers to this question but the known setbacks are that of remuneration and motivation.
Time will not permit me to do comparison and contrast to the other professions but I can say it is very bad.
The take home pay of a Superintendent II teacher is nothing to write home about and it is even more shameful with the higher ranks. Teachers struggle most in Ghana because they are the target of money lenders, banks and financial institutions, and have no choice than to make loans their other source of income.
We are not given any grants such as for accommodation or logistics movement or extra curricular activities etc. Teachers are told are many and do not deserve much. Our current state of affairs in Ghana even make things worst, as the single spine salary has failed woefully to lower the plights of Ghanaian teachers.
Teachers are not entitled to any meaningful incentives such as health insurance, scholarships and motivation.
Interestingly, teachers belong to various teacher unions who have pledged to champion the aspirations of teachers and defend the profession.
Unfortunately, these acclaimed unions have grave weaknesses which make them either ineffective or malfunctioning. They have poor policies and objectives which the ordinary teacher does not benefit directly. A union is supposed to fight and not to compromise with their operations. But this is not the case of current unions of teachers.
Many ill government policies which affect teachers adversely have passed under the bridge without check. Teachers are being shortchanged by the government with harsh policies and the unions are helpless.
One may say without equivocation that these unions are actually there for themselves but not for any teacher.
Some teachers out of frustrations and lost of hope wish no teacher union exist and will even bastardize any new one before it is born.
The glory of the profession has certainly been evaporated into the thin air. Who would restore it to its former state?
Truly, the profession needs a restoration.
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All Teachers Alliance Ghana (ATAG)