It’s very important that often times we remind ourselves as professionals over certain form of treatment successive government met out to teachers in this country. We mostly hear the politicians taunting that teachers are many and any attempt to increase their salary monumentally could put a perpetual pressure on the nation’s meagre coffers.
It becomes even more frustrating when teacher unions become tamed like a domestic lion and look on helplessly as government upon government deepen the desperations of teachers in Ghana.
What’s particularly lamentable is the meagre nature of the teachers salary. It will interest you to know that all the attractive entitlements in the teaching profession are nothing more than decorated titles. We hear big titles like Assistant Director II, Assistant Director I, Deputy Director II etc thinking they come with samptous reward but rather a mere incremental jump of not less than ¢250. The unfortunate thing is that these ranking comes with years of hard work, interviews and examination to access one’s productivity.
A careful analysis on income and expenditure of the teacher’s salary reveals a magnitude of pressure on it contributing largely to unattractive profession with its many desperations.
Any teacher in Ghana who wants to live an average life spends not less than ¢400 on accommodation and utilities alone. If the teacher has a family, then he should be spending not less than ¢1500 more on feeding his family, providing health and education. This is the reality that stare at a profession that takes home $400 as an Assistant Director II. There’s little or no room for savings let alone investment.
The desperation of the profession becomes more horrifying when government upon government instate policies that would keep teachers below the professional bar. Teachers continue to struggle with virtually everything they want to pursue and had become the center of fortune for loan companies. Our pension life is terrible and pension schemes available are not enough to salvage the barren life any teacher faces after retirement.
It’s very important for us to note that with our considerable numbers as professionals, we could hold every government accountable without being partisan. We must not embrace mediocrity or any whack government policy or decisions that will not culminate into our total welfare. The truth of the matter is that teachers’ salary must be increased to not less than 30% together with other conditions that are legitimate to us. We are the regulators of the country’s human resources right from the basic and we must not allow ourselves to be taken for granted by any government in whichever form or colours.
Our unions must be responsible enough to unify teachers’ front with determination to fight for a more better condition of service. The recent signed condition of service is only ceremonial and teachers will hardly feel the impact of it. Our union leaders must fight a good course irrespective of which government is in power to alter our destiny in this country. Studies had proven that 68% of teachers who live only on their salary are poor. Another studies had reveal that 86% of teachers who go on pension hardly make ends meet. When the future of a profession is gloomy and the only lot left for us is struggling to make ends meet, then teaching has no future and it’s equivalent to hopeless profession.
To all my colleagues who are dedicated and selfless to the profession, I will admonish us to remain resolute and begin to awake from our long slumber. We must embrace hope even as we pray that one day a government will take the bold decision to change the fortunes and destiny of teachers forever. Teacher must always be the reason for any government policies that’s aimed at proving academic outcomes. The future is bright with the All Teachers Alliance Ghana (ATAG), that’s committed in championing teacher centred policies that are meant for the total welfare and creating financial freedom and empowerment for teachers in the country.