10,000 teachers leave classrooms in Ghana every year

A Draft report of a survey commissioned by the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) and the Teachers and Educational Workers Union (TEWU), has revealed that the Ghana Education Service (GES) estimates that about 10,000 teachers leave the classroom every year for various reasons.

While some leave with permission to study  with or without pay, others go on secondment, retire or just leave to take up non-teaching jobs.

According to the report, about 3,000 teachers leave the classroom annually to pursue further studies. However, 9000 teachers come out from the Colleges of Education every year to join the GES.

The survey was on teacher attrition, its causes and what could be done to address it within the education sector.

The study which was sponsored by Education International is part of the GNAT/TEWU Education For All HIV/AIDS (EFAIDS) programme for 2009.

Presenting the survey findings in Accra, the Director of Labour Research and Policy Institute of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Mr Kwabena Nyarko Otoo, said the study report came from 890 respondents out of the 1,000 questionnaires that were issued nationwide.

He said the study showed that 50 per cent of the respondents indicated that they would quit  teaching before they retired, for higher pay (24.8 per cent), improved conditions of service (59.8 per cent), change of profession (6.5 per cent) and other reasons (8.9 per cent).

“Our analysis shows that the majority (90 per cent) of the respondents intended to further their education. This is an indication that most teachers want to acquire higher knowledge which may have positive effects on the quality of education,” he explained.

Mr Otoo said 68 of the teachers intended to apply for study leave with pay to go for further studies, indicating that “majority of the teachers are likely to return to the classroom when properly motivated”.

Interestingly, he said, nearly 44 per cent of the respondents said they intended to pursue higher education in the same area they were in (education) while 64 per cent of the respondents said they would return to the classroom after further studies.

He said the research results showed that 60 per cent of those who did not intend  to return to the teaching profession wished to take up jobs in the financial sector or in the community, social and personal sectors.

“The preferred alternative occupations/professions mentioned included accounting, finance, banking, human resource management, administration, advertising, agriculture, animal husbandry, social work and sports,” he said.

Mr Otoo said an overwhelming majority (75.2 per cent) of the teachers said they would not recommend the teaching profession to their children or relatives.

“Some teachers who participated in this survey reported salaries as low as GH¢ 74 ($52) per month. The survey respondents reported an average  monthly salary of GH¢ 405 (or approximately $287 per month in 2009). It was, therefore, not surprising that 98 per cent of the teachers covered by this survey said they were not satisfied with their current pay,” he stated.

He said the findings presented in the report should be useful in the formulation, implementation and review of policies aimed at reducing teacher attrition in the country, as it was only when the policies were implemented and appropriate measures taken to attract and retain teachers in the classroom that “Ghana can meet the noble goal of Education For All”
The General Secretary of GNAT, Mrs Irene Duncan-Adanusah, who chaired the function, said the essence of the draft report was to help in advocacy.

She said the discussion was to fine-tune the draft report which would be used to engage the authorities in the education sector.

Mrs Duncan-Adanusah said the issue of teachers leaving the classroom seemed to be on the increase every year, and that in spite of spending so much money on training and recruiting teachers, little or no attention was paid to the retention of teachers.

“Despite various interventions, we still see that the attrition rate is high,” she said.

Source: Daily Graphic

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