The Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) in the Assin North Municipality has scaled up its engagements with stakeholders to significantly reduce teacher absenteeism regarded as high in the area.
Municipal GNAT Chairman, Johnson Addo-Wuver, who disclosed this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, described the phenomenon as an impediment to national efforts towards providing quality education and added that it was a threat to the teaching profession.
The move, according to him, involved paying surprise visits to schools and keenly working with the Municipal Education inspectorate of the Ghana Education Service (GES) to intensify both internal and external monitoring
To that end, the teacher organisation would continually and sustainably bring teachers together to interact with them, know their challenges and together help find lasting ways of addressing them.
Throwing more light on the reasons for teacher absenteeism in the Municipality, Mr Addo-Wuver mentioned the lack of basic social amenities such as potable drinking water, electricity, telephone and non-existent accommodation in schools for teachers,that had compelled them to commute from far distances to their schools and back every day.
He mentioned others as delays in the payment of teachers' salaries, allowances and undue delay in promotions.
Additionally, he said, ill-health, long maternal leave by some female and teachers' passion to upgrade themselves by enrolling on Sandwich programmes of the Universities were necessary evil that had contributed to the menace
On teachers’ welfare, he identified poor working and low remuneration as the major reasons some teachers had developed low commitment while others left for "greener pastures" in other fields.
He indicated that teachers in Ghana earned low remuneration compared to their compatriots in other countries adding that teachers' salaries had not been increased in the last 4 years.
"As foundation builders, those teaching at the basic level, needs to be given the kind of motivation and incentives to boost their moral in order for them give off their best”.
He called for the motivation of headteachers saying "the inability of some heads to sanction or discipline habitual absentees or lateness to school, had greatly contributed to poor teaching and learning in schools.”
The GNAT Municipal Chairman appealed to the government and communities to double their efforts in providing schools with modern accommodation, good social amenities and working conditions to effectively reduce it.
He charged the Ministry to efficiently resource the supervision division of the GES to monitor schools and applauded teachers across the country for their immense sacrifices towards the upbringing of the Nation's future leaders, admitting that without teachers the nation was heading nowhere.
He encouraged teachers to remain committed and dedicated to the service of imparting knowledge and be proud of their profession, while working hard to protect the sanctity and integrity of the profession.
He charged them not to give up or be discouraged and continually upgrade themselves and assured that GNAT would continually work at protecting and promoting their welfare at all times.