An estimated 33,185 teachers have abandoned their posts in recent years to seek greener pastures elsewhere.
Low salaries, poor infrastructure, delayed promotion, lack of motivation by managers of the system and wrong perception about the teaching profession have accounted for the high attrition.
The General Secretary of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), Mrs Irene Duncan-Adanusa, disclosed this at the fourth Ashanti Regional Quadrennial Conference of GNAT in Kumasi last Thursday.
She noted that deprived communities were the most affected by the attrition, since most teachers found it difficult to cope with the harsh conditions that prevailed there.
Mrs Duncan-Adanusa said poor infrastructure, lack of potable water and electricity, among many others, had contributed to teacher attrition in rural schools and called for a paradigm shift in the educational sector to enable Ghana to produce students capable of developing attitudes and the potential necessary to address the numerous challenges confronting the nation.
The GNAT General Secretary said national policies on education should also be insulated from politics, “so that the nation can enhance its chances of finding the most suitable solutions to its educational challenges”.
Addressing the 460 delegates, Mrs Duncan-Adanusa noted that “the philosophy and goals of education must be tailored at building relevant knowledge, equipping learners with life skills, building positive perspectives and inculcating in learners positive attitudes and values grounded in our culture”.
Mrs Duncan–Adanusa also advised the government to create and maintain a synergy between rural and urban development needs by providing additional incentives for teachers posted to rural areas.
During the four-day conference, new officers will be elected to steer the affairs of the association to sustain its operations.
It will also reflect on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on education and access their impact.
Speaking on the theme: “Education in crisis: The path to 2015 — The teacher factor”, Mrs Duncan–Adanusa challenged teachers to be abreast of modern teaching techniques to enable them to be in a position to mould students to be critical thinkers.
Concerning the theme, she said globally, education was seen to be in crisis, a situation which had a debilitating effect on quality education delivery.
Explaining, she said, “Our studies are characterised by reading theories, looking at diagrams and observing images, with little or no practical demonstrations. The education system, instead of teaching our people how to think and solve problems, is teaching young ones what to think.”
Mrs Duncan-Adanusa said most of the theories that formed the basis of teaching and learning in schools “are not derived from indigenous and traditional knowledge”.
On the high cost of living and its effect on education, she said poverty and crisis-stricken education were intrinsically linked, adding, “The economic circumstances of parents will undoubtedly have a negative impact on the education of their children”.
She noted that cost-cutting strategies such as the withdrawal of subsidies imposed additional financial burden on the population, particularly on poor families.
Mrs Duncan-Adanusa said teacher attrition was another crisis bedeviling the educational sector.