The Pro Vice Chancellor of the University of Cape Coast (UCC), Professor George K.T Oduro has challenged teachers to take active participation in national discourse on education as it was crucial in the country’s pursuit of the “Agenda 2030”.
The Sustainable Development Goal four (SDG-four) enjoins countries to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and the promotion of lifelong learning opportunities for all by 2030.
He said it was only when teachers engaged in national discourse on educational matters that they would become committed to teaching methods that would develop critical thinking minds for the development of the nation.
Prof Oduro threw the challenge during the 5th quadrennial and 52nd delegates’ conference of the Cape Coast Metropolitan branch of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) on Tuesday.
The conference was on the theme: “Transforming societies through education: the contribution of teachers towards agenda 2030”. Prof Oduro said the inability of teachers to actively participate in nation-related matters had led to situations where teachers were constantly blamed for the ‘quality related woes’ facing the educational sector in the country.
He said it was not proper for teachers to remain unconcerned whilst politicians, journalists and other groups led the way in discussing issues in education and therefore urged them to defend their professional identity by engaging more in such discourses. He said the teacher remained indispensable in the transformation process of the society through education and thus, should be provided with the necessary professional and personal support in the discharge of their duties.
Prof Oduro also urged teachers to guard against anything that would derail the image of the profession. “The outcome of education would be adverse to the desired positive change if teachers do not protect their professional identity through good role modeling and ensure that students’ personality development was balanced intellectually, morally, emotionally, physically and spiritually”.
Prof Oduro said transforming societies within the framework of the SDGs could not be accelerated unless governments prioritised the provision and delivery of quality education in their development agenda.
He advocated the supply of adequate teaching and learning materials for schools, reiterating that the effectiveness of a teacher would see little achievement if the requisite teaching and learning materials and professional support were absent in schools.
Mr William Abedi Boadu, the Central Regional Secretary of GNAT tasked teachers to exhibit high level of professionalism because they were the key stakeholders in the transformation agenda.“It is an affront if you are now chasing money and throwing away your professionalism and losing credibility,” he stated.
He encouraged teachers to use the first year of the 15-year agenda to adequately transform themselves and take centre stage in transforming societies in achieving the SDG goal of inclusive and equitable quality education for all. The transformation, he said, must give teachers the impetus and the courage to point out to their colleagues what they did wrong as well as the wrongs in the society.
Mr Boadu also bemoaned the state classrooms of Kindergarten (KG) and Basic school levels and other challenges teachers faced and urged teachers to be courageous to speak against such debilitating working conditions.