Govt and GES pretend over ‘fake’ teachers

Wed, 4 Jun 2014 Source: Pacas, Idris

This article is written in response to the story ‘120 fake teachers dismissed’ (@ Ghanaweb 29/5/14). According to the story, these teachers in the Upper Manya Krobo District, Eastern Region, were sacked for using fake results to get appointment into the Ghana Education Service (GES). The story attributed the discovery of the fake teachers, many of whom are accused of having on only BECE results, to the sustained poor performance of pupils at BECE. Subsequently, GES referred the issue to the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO). For what?

If you (a man) have unprotected sex with your wife (a woman) continuously for a month, what do you expect to happen?—Pregnancy. And why would you then be surprised that your wife is pregnant?—Mere pretence.

When govt and GES decided to recruit en masse the ‘un-pupil’ teachers or better still ‘pupil engagers’ (persons not befitting the status of being called pupil teacher), they (both the govt and GES) knew conclusively that pupils’ academic performance will drop drastically. Parents and the general public are also fully aware. By analogy, why are we surprised that our month-long-forked wives are pregnant?

To begin, I draw readers’ attention to the presence of two categories of pupil teachers at the basic level—those recruited under the National Youth Employment Programme [NYED (now GYEEDA)] and those recruited by GES. In this write-up, I call those ‘recruited’ (sorry engaged) under NYEP ‘pupil engagers’, and those recruited by GES ‘pupil facilitators’. Conspicuously missing from the news story was the category of pupil teachers with the fake results and what it (the report or GES) meant by the term fake results.

The first pretence on everybody’s part including me (the writer) and you (reader) is that, we are fully aware that the BASIC QUALIFICATIONS to be recruited as a ‘pupil engager’ under the NYEP are two: (1) to have ever attended school and can therefore write your name and (2) to be a member or to have strong relations with the governing party. The pupil engagers were recruited by the youth coordinators at the district and municipal offices, from where they were then posted directly to schools.

Thus, having BECE results overqualify one to be employed under this scheme. If anyone at the district assembly or education office claims to be unaware of this FACT; s/he incurs the wrath of Kwame Nkrumah. And exactly why GES and GNAT never protested against this process remains a mystery. A similar politically aligned mode of employment is what has padded the police service with state armed robbers.

Throughout Kufuor’s regime, the originator of the NYEP, these ‘pupil engagers’ were there; having introduced them into GES was a campaign weapon for NPP during the 2008 and 2012 elections. Their ‘monthly allowances’ which used to come once in a blue moon were paid tabletop and the engagers were often in long queues, similar to those seen during ‘Agege Days’, at the assemblies receiving this ‘salary’. Maybe, the single greatest difference between the two regimes regarding this programme is that, during this NDC’s era, the pittance to these pupil engagers comes once every ‘green moon’ and is received via the bank.

The simple question is ‘Which group of qualified persons can any employer recruit and be paying them allowances at anytime of the employers’ choice, eg, once every three or four months? Thus, fake results and poor performance of their pupils at BECE are the main products of their mode of recruitment and payment.

GES is almost excluded in the process of ‘employing’ the pupil engagers, who are just posted to schools with or without consulting the Service. So ignorant were or are some of the pupil engagers that they don’t even know what a lesson notebook is, let alone knowing how to write and use lesson notes. Therefore, if a whole govt can recruit persons to do a professional job without giving them any orientations, where lies the need to be surprised that pupils being taught by these so-called teachers are failing? Mere pretence! GES or govt not providing the pupil engagers any orientation further justifies that teaching is no profession. For example, under the same NYEP, ‘community nurses’ were given orientation before being posted to CHIP compounds, implying that nursing is a profession.

We now look at the second category of pupil teachers, herein called pupil facilitators: these are recruited by GES itself. It will interest readers to note that the govt phased out pupil teachers some years ago and the question still remains as to why it (govt) did that. The new pupil-teacher employment scheme, handled by GES, is executed by the district directors. Here too, what is the qualification? —Maybe degree, diploma, DBS or passes in SSCE. The questions again are whether a potential recruit must meet the basic requirement before being appointed and who certifies this qualification before or during the recruitment process.

The Bible says that only fools learn from their own mistakes: the wise learn from the mistakes of others. Thus, knowing the ease of faking results in this IT age, GES needed to use only common sense to link its recruitment process with WAEC or the other educational institutions. This linkage will ensure that the results of potential recruits will be confirmed before an appointment letter is issued. Failure to do this confirmation before appointment and then later complain about persons faking results to be employed make no SENSE. It only shows that we don’t care about the kind of persons who teach our children. Again, this lack of thorough background checks prior to recruitment is the cause of increased robbery among the police.

Thus, what are the true requirements to be recruited by GES as a pupil facilitator? Here too, they are two: (1) one might have completed SHS or above and (2) one MUST be ready to pay (the amount ranges from GHS 600 to 1400). Nationwide, the financial requirement is nearly strictly enforced. Once more, only common sense tells us that potential recruits without qualification are the most preferred, at least for two reasons. First, they are always willing to pay more and second, they readily kowtow /kau-tau/ to the demands of officials of GES (officials take percentages from them).

No further investigations are required to confirm these facts because they are no secrets. Any surprise on our part amounts to a mere pretence. A good example comes from the Wa West District in the Upper West Region where a large number of such pupil teachers were recruited in the 2013/14 academic year. After assuming post and teaching for both first and second terms, they were later told to stop. And what is the reason? The office claims there is a ban on recruitment. If so, why did it go ahead to employ them? The truth is that the district office gave the said pupil teachers FAKE staff IDs.

Country Men and Women, if not in Ghana, how can you (a whole GES) recruit somebody who started work and therefore incurred cost of transportation, feeding, accommodation and perhaps that which is paid before the recruitment and you later tell the person orally to stop working? As I write, these pupil teachers are at home waiting to be re-recruited as promised by the office. Therefore, it is GES which is actually the source of FAKE staff IDs, and not teachers who provided FAKE results. Again, it is GES which is selectively employing unqualified persons.

In consequence, the genuine complaints of Nagrat (sorry NAGRAT) and Coalition of Concerned Teachers (CCT) meant nothing if they sit almost unconcerned and allow the teaching profession to be loaded with fake and unqualified persons. Though considering them hypocrites, I strongly support Nagrat for exiting from GNAT for this single reason—membership is by strict professional qualification: every member is a graduate (professional) teacher.

Fellow Country Men and Women, GES referring the fake-teacher issue to EOCO is a mere formality.

Part II focuses on why pupil teachers must still be employed and how GES itself contributes to falling educational standards.

Long live practising teachers! Long live Kwame Nkrumah’s Ghana!

Idris Pacas: +233 20 910 15 33

Columnist: Pacas, Idris