The Minister of Education, Prof Naana Opoku-Agyeman, has stated that one major problem militating against the provision of quality education in the country is the lack of teachers, a problem occasioned partly by the inequitable distribution of teachers.
She explained that a recent research by the ministry indicated that there were more teachers than required in the urban and peri-urban centres, while less-privileged districts and rural schools had inadequate teachers.
Prof Opoku-Agyeman was opening a day’s discussion with district chief executives (DCEs) from the Ashanti, Brong Ahafo, Upper West, Upper East and Northern regions on how to improve management, supervision, monitoring and accountability of schools in those areas.
To decisively deal with the problem, the minister said her outfit, in collaboration with the Ghana Education Service (GES), had embarked on a teacher rationalisation exercise.
She implored the DCEs to support the ministry and the said rationalisation which started last year to ensure that deprived communities also had their fair share of teachers to accelerate teaching and learning.
Prof Opoku-Agyeman, a former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cape Coast, said a recent study of time spent on tasks by various countries, including Ghana, indicated that the country spent the least time on tasks and yet figures showed that 90 per cent of the ministry’s budgetary allocation was spent on salaries.
She said a current national educational sector annual review (NESAR) and other researches with special reference to the Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition all indicated a high rate of teacher absenteeism of about 27 per cent in the 2012/2013 report.
On unapproved school fees, she expressed worry that despite efforts by her ministry to regulate and standardise fees and levies, some heads of schools were flouting the directive, contrary to the government’s agenda of making education accessible to all Ghanaians.
Prof Opoku-Agyeman said that unacceptable behaviour of those heads was frustrating the efforts of financially disadvantaged children to have access to education.