According to Nana Akufo-Addo, “Ghanaian Universities should be ranked amongst the top 10 on the continent. This is not beyond us to achieve, and my government will ensure that universities are equipped with the requisite logistics and guarantee that lecturers are well motivated to achieve this feat.”
The President has also stressed that research and innovation will be at the heart of education in Ghana, as “this would ensure that our graduates from our educational institutions enter the labour market well-equipped with skills for good-paying jobs.”
Mr Akufo-Addo made this known on Saturday, 29th July, 2017, when he attended and delivered a speech at the 21st Congregation Ceremony of the University of Education, Winneba (UEW).
Applauding UEW for its position as the citadel of teacher education in Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo also commended the University for its pioneering role in distance education, noting that UEW is now a pacesetter in distance learning, with 37 study centres spread across the country.
He noted that almost all modern, successful societies that have had outstanding results in training and economic development such as Singapore, Finland, Korea and Canada have shown that teacher quality is the single most important determinant of their successes.
“For us also to make a success of our nation, we must pay attention to teachers. It is only a crop of well-trained, self-confident and contented teachers that can deliver the educated and skilled workforce we require to transform our economy,” he said.
To this end, Mr Akufo-Addo also stressed that government intends to restore the teaching profession to the status it once enjoyed, and make it an attractive career choice.
Teaching, he added, must no longer be seen as a stop-gap measure or a job of last resort, but as a viable choice to enter a well-paid, well respected profession with long term career prospects and good benefits.
“Accordingly, government intends to facilitate teacher training nationwide, as well as special incentives for them, such as support for teachers to acquire their own homes, in collaboration with the Ghana National Association of Teachers, NAGRAT, and other teaching associations to facilitate an affordable housing scheme for teachers,” the President said.
He continued, “We will also support teachers to enrol in Distance Education programmes to boost their capacity. This is in line with our policy of motivating teachers, and rewarding their hard work in the classroom. It is for this reason that government, from September, is re-introducing the teacher training allowance that was cancelled by the previous government.”
Ensure amicable settlement of issues
Nana Akufo-Addo urged the newly constituted Governing Council of the University of Education, Winneba (UEW), to do all within its power to see to an amicable settlement of all matters currently pending before the Winneba High Court.
Describing the recent happenings at UEW, Nana Akufo-Addo stated that it is noteworthy that it appears that finality is being brought to bear on the matters.
The current challenges, in the President’s view, can be best surmounted if all stakeholders act within the confines of the law and respect the rule of law.
“Court decisions are not always pleasant, but they are, in principle, the surest way of resolving disputes. Let us not through our utterances, actions and inactions undermine the authority of our courts,” he said.
In the same vein, Mr Akufo-Addo urged the chairperson of the governing council to ensure that the Council puts in place measures to seal all loopholes of waste and the abuse of public funds.
“I encourage all lecturers to resume full academic duties and use the university’s processes to resolve any outstanding grievances,” he added.