Don't undermine our capabilities – Kenneth Gyamerah


​According to John Dewey an American philosopher, the main purpose of Education is for the reconstruction of society. When people spend years in school to get quality education, the whole society benefits. The person doesn’t acquire the knowledge and skills for themselves but for the betterment of the society.
Over the years, giving back to society through education has been the norm. I quite remember during the last decade, graduates from University of Education Winneba and the University of Cape Coast, the two hubs of tertiary teacher training institutions were offered a place to teach in the first and second cycle institutions in Ghana.
Others were given placement in the district education offices to serve as circuit supervisors. Those days were the times that going to these institutions directly from Senior High School were a prestige. That feeling of ready job, even our colleagues from other universities were jealous. Now the tables have turned.
Ghana Education Service, the only recruitment body of teachers in the public sector over the years has deliberately ignored graduate teachers from these universities simply because they went directly after Senior High School.
On 23rd August, 2013, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning announced a net freeze of public sector employment due to International Monetary Fund conditionality. This ban affected even graduates who have been trained to teach. Before one can be employed, financial clearance has to be given and the previous government used that opportunity to recruit their foot soldiers and left trained teachers behind.
Most of the graduates from the aforementioned universities know that there is ready job after graduation so most of them accessed the Students Loan. Now their loan is increasing since the interest rate is calculated on compound interest basis. How sad!
Some of them graduated in 2012 and are still unemployed. The worst part of the issue is that, the private schools are not ready to absorb these graduates because they think their service require high salary and also their commitment to stay is questionable since they can leave any time.
The GES keep recruiting teacher trainees every year even though the embargo was in progress. Our visit to the Human Resources Managing Director of the GES in September 2015 revealed that, those teacher trainees posted in 2015 were the last batch who were bonded by government so those who would be completing in 2016 would have to apply just like those days when graduates from the two teacher education Universities did.
2016 finally came and the GES didn’t go according to their word. They sent clearance of 16,342 to the finance ministry. All these people were employed leaving the graduate teachers behind.
The worst part is that, private colleges of education trainees were given posting. I don’t have problem with them because they are trained teachers but then, why would you employ somebody you have not invested in and leave  well qualified teachers  you paid quota for during their education at the university.??As the Ashanti proverb goes “if the flock of sheep sent to the field to graze have not returned, do you send more”
These private colleges of education are affiliated to UEW and UCC but their trainees are given direct postings meanwhile the graduates from the awarding institutions are left out.
In October 2016, the GES which is supposed to know more about issues of methodology and pedagogy made a very big error and once again, people a lot of stakeholders of education didn’t notice it.
They opened applications for Mathematics, English, Science and Geography teachers to fill some of the community day Senior High Schools. After the application, 6000 graduates were shortlisted to write aptitude test, the first of its kind .Each person paid 62 ghc. So just imagine the amount of money these officials made. They made Ghc 372,000.
They said they used that money to fund the test. When did corporate bodies start collecting money for entrance examination?
I think the current government should look into this issue and demand a proper accountability from the GES. After the examination, they recruited 2400 people. Available statistics indicates that only 40% of the selected people were trained as teachers. The rest were from other universities who did not have experience in teaching. We visited the headquarters of GES and asked one officer about the reason behind that direction because they know we have Unemployed graduate teachers.
We were told that, the recruitment was done by the Education Ministry. Once again, separation of power didn’t work. The GES failed in exercising themselves as the recruitment body. I sensed some kind of ‘foot soldiers’ recruitment in that.
I am not discrediting the intelligence of those who haven’t been trained as teachers. Some can teach very well but then in any institution, there is code of ethics and laid down procedure for recruitment.
A graduate lawyer cannot be employed to work as a doctor. A graduate teacher cannot be hired as a nurse. Yes!
That’s why there is specialization. People are trained as teachers and when there is a limited vacancy; priority is given to those without education background. The GES should come very clear on that and make sure that, the right thing is done. Because, teaching is a profession like Law, Medicine and Engineering and so in hiring, it should be strictly teachers. Teaching is not pseudo profession but full time.
If qualified teachers are not given their rightful place in the talk and chalk fraternity, performance of students will continue to dwindle.
There are more than 10,000 unemployed graduate teachers who went to university of Education, Winneba  and  University of Cape Coast direct from SHS but for the past 4 years, the GES has not made any efforts to make sure these people are employed meanwhile, available statistics indicates that there is 35,000 vacancies nationwide.
Out of desperation to become government teachers, some Basic Education degree holders have been convinced into joining the Community Education Teaching Assistant (CETA ) module under the Youth Employment Agency (YEA).They are paid a paltry amount of GHc 250.00 a month, an amount which is one-third of the salary of diploma holder in Basic Education. If this is not unfair, tell me something else.
Just last week, the GES has released another vacancy in their official and it’s solely for teacher trainees and those who completed private colleges of education.
No priority was given to university direct SHS graduate teachers. It’s very sad and frustrating. It’s an insult to the great institutions which trained these people. Is the Ghana Education Service trying to say Bachelor of Education degree is no longer necessary???
I would like to draw to the attention of the Minister of Education, designate that, a lot of restructuring need to be done within the Education sector especially the Ghana Education Service. Those without teaching background should make way for those who are trained teachers.
Moreover, in future recruitment of teachers, priority should be given solely to those who are teachers. There should be a well laid down code of ethics. The GES keeps making the teaching profession unattractive because any graduate who is frustrated somewhere can join and later leave for their so called ‘good profession’
I believe the Ghana Education Service is undermining the capabilities of graduate teachers produced by the universities.
There should be a new phase of teaching. The era of anyone can teach is gone. Let’s build a new Ghana where education would be the priority and the key to sustainable growth and development in Ghana.
By: Kenneth Gyamerah.