A 41-year-old female Visual Arts teacher, Ms Rita Oppong of the Sowah Din Two Memorial School at Adentan in the Greater Accra Region was adjudged the National Best Teacher at the 22nd National Best Teacher and second Best School awards held in Sunyani yesterday.
There was jubilation by officials of the Ghana Education Service (GES) from the Greater Accra Region who accompanied Ms Oppong to collect her dummy check for GH¢100,000 from President John Dramani Mahama, who was the guest of honour at the event.
Mr Samuel Kofi Boateng of the Ghana Secondary Technical School (GSTS), Takoradi in the Western Region, who was adjudged the first runner-up, received a double-cabin Toyota pick-up as his prize, while Mr Sulemana Inusah Salami of the Sacred Heart Senior High School (SHS) at Nsoatre in the Brong Ahafo Region was the second runner-up and received a saloon car as his prize.
The event was marked on the theme: “Valuing teachers, improving their status”.
In all, 72 individuals and educational institutions were rewarded at the well-attended event.
Criteria for the selection of award winners included professional competence, personal factors such as social, moral, emotional and spiritual characteristics of the teacher, and contribution to community development.
Other factors were that teachers should have taught for a minimum of five years and exhibited innovativeness and creativity in teaching.
They should also be well-informed, especially about educational policies and issues, as well as be members of subject associations.
The general awards covered kindergarten, French, SHS, non-teaching, special education, junior high school (JHS), technical/vocational, Information and Communications Technology (ICT), primary, basic school Science and Mathematics, second cycle Science and Mathematics and technical institutes.
In the Special Awards categories, three foreign volunteers, 20 retired teachers (one male and one female from each region) and 10 national service persons were also rewarded.
In the Primary School category, the Sacred Heart Primary School at Nsoatre in the Brong Ahafo Region was adjudged the best, followed by Bomso M/A Primary in the Ashanti Region and Dagodu R/C Primary.
The Agogo Ramseyer JHS took the first prize in the JHS category, while the Kabo JHS in the Upper West Region and the Lamboya Model JHS in the Upper East Region took the second and third prizes, respectively.
In the SHS category, the Sacred Heart SHS at Nsoatre was adjudged the best, while the St Joseph’s SHS/Seminary in the Ashanti Region and St Martin’s SHS in Nsawam in the Eastern Region took the second and third positions, respectively.
All the first prize winners in these categories received 30 computers each, while the second prize winners had 25 each, with each of the third prize winners receiving 20 computers.
In her remarks, the President of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), Ms Philipa Larsen, said the theme for the cerebration was appropriate, in view of the fact that the image of the teacher had sunk globally to an unappreciable level.
“It is our candid opinion that the status of the teaching profession cannot be simply reduced to how much a teacher gets paid. Teaching also needs to be valued culturally,” she said, adding that in the past teachers could speak fondly about the goodwill they enjoyed locally.
She added that if teachers were not respected in society, the ripple effect was that children would not listen to teachers in class, parents would not reinforce messages that were coming from school, while the most talented graduates would continue to disregard the teaching profession.
“It is a truism that many teachers often begin their careers with a sense that their work is socially meaningful and will yield great personal satisfaction. Unfortunately, this sense dissipates as inevitable difficulties in teaching interact with personal issues and vulnerabilities,” she said.
She called on the nation to rethink harder, push farther and dream bigger if “we are to find ways of truly celebrating the noble profession of teaching”.
Ms Larsen said GNAT was of the view that teachers should be treated with as much respect as other highly skilled professionals with important jobs in society.
She congratulated the award winners and expressed the hope that their success would encourage other teachers to rededicate themselves to the profession in order to qualify them to be candidates for future awards.
Source Daily Graphic