The Member of Parliament for Sawla-Tuna-Kalba Constituency in the Savanna Region, Hon Andrew Dari Chiwitey has bemoaned the shortage of teachers in public schools across the Constituency.
According to him, the problem had adversely affected students’ performance over the past few years for which government must urgently employ more teachers to mitigate and maintain standards in the schools.
The situation, he added has compelled most parents to withdraw their wards from some of the public schools.
Hon Chiwitey disclosed this when he dragged the Minister for Education to parliament to explain what urgent steps the government is taking to address the challenges.
“Mr. Speaker, I rise to ask the Minister for Education what urgent steps the Ministry is taking to address the acute shortage of teachers in the Sawla-Tuna-kalba District?”, the MP quizzed the sector Minister.
In response, the sector Minister, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum said he has taken cognizance of the challenges which is common across the country and would contact the Ghana Education Services to address the situation, especially with regards to Sawla-Tuna-Kalba.
The Minister admitted he was unaware of the teacher to pupil ratio in the Sawla-Tuna-Kalba area but assured that he would work closely with the Ghana Education Services (GES) to address the situation going forward.
But Hon Chiwitey told EXPRESSNEWSGHANA, he was Completely disappointed with the response to his urgent question for the sector Minister appeared to be oblivious of the problems and is not well connected to the District Directorate of Education.
He said, “Even when I talked of teacher ratio he looked at me in a very strange manner which is very bad as far as education is concerned”.
In his considered view, the government should be working at matching teachers with pupils for that is the only way to get results, adding that he felt so sad because recently, he went round his constituency and almost every community he went to had a teachers deficit.
“In some communities, class one to six, we have only a teacher, in some cases the community paid the teacher”, he said, noting that the situation has created a deficit of five hundred and sixty-six (566) teachers in the district, even though the students would sit for same exams with their counterparts in the cities and much better-resourced districts.
Mr. Chiwitey further bemoaned the fact that one of the schools he visited recently, they have a deficit of over thirty teachers, “that is too much” and left to him the minister should step up the game and resolve some of the problems.
He added that, despite the challenges, there are qualified teachers with diploma certificates and licenser’s certificates, but the government refused to employ them to work
“Personally, I have gone to the Minister’s office to discuss this with him, you go and you cannot have access to him, I have written letters to him, done a follow ups, I have teachers who have the qualification to be employed but I did not have access. I filed a statement in the last meeting on the shortage of teachers in the district, there were days I was told I would take the statement today, and then it was pushed forward so finally, I had to resort to questioning.”
“If you follow the secondary school examination results for the past three years you realised that the secondary school performs badly in the Savannah region. I think we have to seat up and do something that is why I have made a plan, I have visited Tuna Secondary School next would be Sawla then I would go to a private secondary school. I would listen to them we see what we can do collectively to bring up education in my constituency,” Mr. Chiwitey intimated.
He underscored the need for a solution to the situation which he feared might degenerate if new teachers are not employed and deployed to the area to somehow mitigate the challenges as more teachers would be retiring.
The MP also expressed concern about the lack of facilities to improve the quality of education of the schools and face the problem of inadequate space to accommodate pupils and students who turned for enrolment every year.
He said the government for the past five years failed to put up any new project in the District, but heads of the schools and local authorities remained silent on the situation for fear of victimization and political witch-hunting, saying, “this has compelled most parents to take away their wards from some of the schools.”
Mr. Chiwitey said, in some of the schools, especially the Senior High Schools, students have to lock their shop-boxes outside their dormintaries at the mercy of weather.
He however called on the government to take immediate steps toward recruiting more personnel into the education sector, especially in the Sawla-Tuna-Kalba District to boost teaching and learning.
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