The Dying Embers of Education in Ghana – Kwami Alorvi

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EducationGhana| May 20| The Dying Embers of Education in Ghana:

HE DYING EMBERS OF EDUCATION IN GHANA_ KWAMI ALORVI WRITES..
SUMMARY
1. Many GES Headquarters Directors including the Deputy Director General (MS), Mr Anthony Boateng, have retired, but they remain at the post.
2. Out of the 16 Regional Directors, as many as 11 have retired but are still at post.
3. As many as nine, and still counting, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Directors that retired are also retained at post.
4. Meanwhile about 75 officials promoted to Director 2 rank in 2020, are still at their old stations awaiting posting. They are still on their old salaries for two years now despite their promotion.
5. The choking of the system by these retired Directors has brought morale among teachers to rock bottom.
6. Hon. The Minister of Education should take steps to ensure that these retired Directors hand over to those promoted to ensure fairness.
7. The teacher unions should step in to ensure that the welfare of their teachers is not sacrificed on the alter of a decaying system.

INTRODUCTION

The neglect of basic school education in Ghana in recent times has left basic education infrastructure in disrepair. Lack of textbooks, three clear years after the launch of a new curriculum, (the Minister Hon. Yaw Osei Adutwum says he needs three more years to be able to supply the textbooks in 2024), and non-release of capitation grants for many years have further compounded the problem in basic schools.
In the Senior High Schools, inadequate infrastructure resulting in double-tracking, shortage of food to feed students, and government indebtedness to schools have negatively impacted teaching and learning.
A decaying management system right from the GES Headquarters, to the Regional, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Directorates, with many retired Directors still hanging on to their positions, is increasingly becoming incapable of giving Ghanaians hope, and we are beginning to see the dying embers of our education.
The fire is smouldering with smoke but no flame. In no time, the embers will extinguish leaving in place a huge mound of ashes; the death of our education.

MANAGEMENT DECAY

Since 2018, a new phenomenon has been birthed and nurtured that ensures that GES officers who have retired compulsorily at age sixty, remain at post, thus blocking the chances of junior ranks from rising up the professional and administrative ladder.

HEADQUARTERS

Conspicuously guilty of this refusal to bow after retirement is my friend the Ashanti Effiduase-born Deputy Director General (DDG) of the GES in charge of Management Services, Mr. Anthony Boateng.
The official compulsory retirement date of Mr. Boateng was 16th August 2020, but he has still been at post ever since. Many people believed though that his date of birth might have been altered to allow him remain in the service longer than permissible.
Most of his classmates had long retired from active service. Indeed Mr. Boateng was one year my senior in UCC and I went on compulsory retirement six years ago!
Reports from my field officers also name the following GES Headquarters officials as being at post though on compulsory retirement:
1. The Guidance and Counselling Coordinator, one Ivy.
1. Director in charge of Schools and Instructions, one Patty Assan.
3. Director of Special Education, one Bernice Addea.

REGIONAL DIRECTORATES

Reports gathered by our field officers reveal that as many as eleven out of the sixteen Regional Directors have retired but have been signed on by Mr. Anthony Boateng to remain at post. Leading these regions are Ashanti, Central, Greater Accra and Northern.
The field officers are monitoring if my sister, the Volta Regional Director, who recently retired, will also be allowed to remain at post as her colleagues.
In effect, the retired Deputy Director General (MS) Mr. Anthony Boateng, has refused to give way to allow other Directors to be interviewed for his position. Instead, he has formed an “Esteem Club of Retired Directors” of which he has become the Life President.
“What new retirees only need to do is just apply and pay their membership registration fees to Mr. Anthony Boateng, and they are good to go,” lamented one promoted Director waiting for posting.
Another, speaking with pain said, “District Directors are qualified, yet the retired officers continue to ask for more years and they are given because the DDG himself has refused to go.”
Before Mr Anthony Boateng’s retirement or rather delayed retirement, Directors who retired were given marching orders by Mr. Boateng to submit themselves to audit and hand over.
The North East Regional Director was alleged to have been hounded out of office by Mr. Anthony Boateng, even before her retirement date was due. What has changed now is the fact that having entrenched himself in his position after compulsory retirement, the Deputy Director General (MS), Mr Anthony Boateng has lost any moral right to order retired Directors to hand over.

THE MMD DIRECTORATES

Having watched with keen interest how their bosses are breaking the rules, the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Directors of Education have also joined the Esteem Club of Retired Directors headed by Mr. Anthony Boateng.
After all, what is good for the crocodile, must equally be good for the frog, because they are both amphibians.
Our findings are that, as many as nine retired Metropolitan, Municipal and District Directors (and still counting), have been given the approval by Mr. Anthony Boateng to remain at post.
Meanwhile, about 75 officers promoted to Director 2 positions in 2020, are still on their old salaries awaiting posting. What a decadent system! Two of such Directors awaiting posting have since passed on, our team learnt. No promotion letters have been issued to them since 2020.
Our field officers chanced upon a bizarre and discriminatory situation where some of the waiting Directors close to Mr. Boateng, and some influential ruling party officials, MPs and Ministers, are allegedly processed by the GES and are being paid Director 2 grade salary for over two years now.
A case was cited of one promoted Director 2 in Central Region awaiting posting, just as his colleagues in the 75 group, who received salaries for many years as the Gomoa West (Apam) Director of Education, while there was a substantive Director at post in Apam.
How can one district have two Directors of Education? That Director (name withheld), our field officers learnt, has recently been posted to Asikuma Odoben Brakwa District in the Central Region as Director. Why were the remaining waiting Directors not put on Director’s salary as done to the Asikuma Odoben Brakwa Director before his posting?
I must state that I am not entirely against the re-engagement of retired officers when special skills and proven commitment are required to address a specific and peculiar problem.
What I am troubled about is the wholesale misapplication of the rule for parochial and partisan interests.
How can eleven Regional Directorates, including those in Greater Accra, Central, Northern and Ashanti Regions, be so special as to warrant the retention of the retired Directors?
What peculiar problems are there to solve for other Directors cannot solve?
Before such Directors assumed duty, how were the Directorates administered? Before Mr. Anthony Boateng’s appointment, had there not been a Deputy Directors-General in charge of Management Services?

EFFECT OF RETIRED DIRECTORS STILL AT POST

1. Morale among Directors awaiting posting is at rock bottom. GES operates with a rule that officials appointed as Headmasters and Directors must be able to serve for four years before retirement.
All officials with less than four years prior to retirement are not even considered for interviews, much more for promotion. Most of the Directors awaiting posting are in their mid-fifties.
The effect of keeping retired Directors at post while that promoted wait for over two years is that, when the GES finally decides to post them, they will not have the minimum of four years to serve before compulsory retirement.
GES will thus not post them. The GES, which has created the problem by choking the pipeline with retired Directors, will disqualify them. What an injustice!
2. The affected officers will be marking time on their former grade, and be overtaken by younger junior officers, who then become their superiors.
3. The non posted Directors will also retire on their former lower grades and go home with lower retirement benefits. This amounts to cheating and it must stop.
4. The delay in posting has lowered morale among the promoted but not posted officers, and this is negatively affecting their performance.

SOLUTIONS

1. The Hon. Minister of Education, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum should take immediate steps to direct all those retired Directors at the GES Headquarters, Regional and MM&D Directorates to hand over without any further delay. This will flush out the choked system and allow qualified officials to rise through the professional and administrative ladder.
2. In the meantime, those promoted Directors awaiting posting should be put on the basic salary of a Director. The same favours granted to the recently posted Asikuma Odoben Brakwa Director must be extended to all. They cannot, and should not, suffer any financial loss due to the negligence and inertia of the GES Management.
3. The Teacher Unions- NAGRAT, GNAT, CCT, CHASS, CODE, COHBS- should take a special interest in this matter and push for a remedy.
The welfare of every single member of our unions must be of paramount interest to leadership. The individual teachers involved cannot stand up to this injustice because they will be victimized by the GES Management if they try to do so. Strong leaders stand for themselves, but stronger leaders stand for everyone else. It is late, but there is never a wrong time to do the right thing.
The time to stand up for these affected teachers is now.
DATED: Friday 20th May 2022}Kwame Alorvi Former NAGRAT Boss

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