The Minister for Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, says contrary to claims that the education sector is facing a teacher shortage, Ghana is one of the few countries in the world where there is an abundance of teachers.
This follows media reports from some schools, especially those in rural areas where there are no teachers.
Speaking at the 2023 Ghana Teacher Prize ceremony in Takoradi, Dr. Adutwum explained that the absence of teachers in some schools is due to deployment issues, which are being fixed.
“We have a deployment challenge. There are so many people waiting to come and teach. You may go to an urban classroom where there are two teachers in the classroom, and you go to Zabzugu, and there is a shortage.“I am therefore happy that we have committed that this deployment challenge will no longer be the case in the next few months.”
The assertion by the Minister confirms initial concerns raised by some stakeholders about the inadequate and unfair distribution of trained teachers in the country.
Earlier, the Executive Director of Africa Education Watch, Kofi Asare, argued that although Ghana requires more teachers, the perception of a shortage of trained teachers in the country is erroneous.
He explained that there has been an over-concentration of teachers in urban areas to the detriment of schools in rural communities, adding that it is not a lack of adequate teacher supply but rather more of a distribution problem.
Citing an example, Mr Asare said the Adentan municipality has only 18 public primary schools with 140 classrooms, which requires at least 140 primary class teachers plus 18 heads.
This means Adentan needs about 158 teachers to function, however, Adentan has 363 teachers, a surplus of 20.
But the Kumasi Metro has 98 public primary schools with 820 classrooms. Kumasi requires 820 primary class teachers and 98 heads to operate, totaling 918.
However, Kumasi has 1,208 primary teachers, a surplus of 290.
Backing and detailing how the Ministry will resolve the discrepancies, the Education Minister said the government is willing to pay transfer grants to teachers.
“If there is a need to pay transfer grants, we would pay it so the teachers can go to the places where we need them the most, and we can forever put to rest this allusion that there is a shortage when there is no shortage.”
There are so many people who are waiting to be posted to go and teach, and when we get clearance, we do that. We are one of the few countries in the world where you can get a hundred teachers today if you want them.
The universities have done a good job and we need to do a better job with the deployment process and we are going to do just that,” he added.
Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum again used the opportunity to deny claims that the education system is being destroyed under President Nana Akufo-Addo.
“Sometimes we don’t do ourselves any favour, we are our worst enemies. Worst enemies in the sense that if you look at the work Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has put into education, somebody can look at you and say with a straight face that he has done nothing.
So these days, I do evidence-based communication. No green book wahala. I show you what we have done.
“When they say the education system is downhill, they are saying you (teachers) haven’t done a good job, but you have done a great job.
“When you look at the fact that in 2015, only 2% of primary two students in this country could read but now in 2022 when we assessed students across the country which has never been done before, 38% of our primary 2 students could read and we are still not happy.”The president says no if 62 % are not reading, we have to find a way to get it done.”