Female Tutor Wins Overall Best At ‘Duker Teachers Awards’
… As MP Announces Similar Scheme For Health Professionals
By Gifty Arthur
An English teacher at the Tarkwa Senior High School (SHS) has beaten stiff competition to be adjudged the Overall Best Teacher at this year’s “Duker Teachers Awards” ceremony, held on Saturday June 3, at Tarkwa in the Western Region.
Edina Amihere, who is the first female teacher to have won the ultimate award since its inception, went home with a brand-new vehicle and plaque for her dedication, service and commitment to teaching.
Eighteen others have also emerged winners in the teaching and non-teaching staff from first and second cycle public schools. They were presented with plaques, television sets, refrigerators and chest freezers, amounting to thousands of Ghana cedis.
The “Duker Teachers Awards,” instituted in 2022 by the Member of Parliament (MP) for Tarkwa Nsuaem, George Mireku Duker, is aimed at recognizing the various roles teachers play to promote quality education and to motive them to give of their best at all time in the gold endowered municipality.
Mr. Duker, who was a teacher by profession, also announced that a similar awards scheme will take place for health professionals to reward their efforts.
This year’s event, on the theme “Education, Our Future, Our Pride,” was attended by several dignitaries, including the Western Regional Minister, Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, Kade MP Alexander Agyare, representatives from mining firms, traditional rulers and school heads.
17 Years of Teaching
Ms.Amihere, who has taught for 17 years, said she sees her award as a great motivation for herself and other women who aspire to get to the top. Even though she expected to win, she said it was a great joy and honour to have come as the overall best.
According to her, even though some say the reward of teachers is in heaven, she is content and happy with gestures like this by the MP.
Asked by The Anchor what her greatest motivation is, she said it has always been seeing her students rising higher on the academic ladder.
She pleaded with parents and society to appreciate and understand the work of teachers and encouraged her colleagues to do what is best for their students to serve Ghana and the rest of the world better.
“We should all work hard, the little we can do in our various classrooms, we should have the mind that we are going to impart [knowledge] whenever we go to the classroom. we should not go as ordinary teachers, we are not ordinary.
“I always tell myself I am not ordinary. Once it is work, I believe that I will be honoured one day and truly I have been honoured today. I know that this is going to be a motivation for other teachers to emulate. Last year I was here and I told myself I will apply this year and truly I have applied and God has been faithful to me so I know next year other best teachers will emerge and we will all celebrate,” she stated.
She indicated that, “This award will help other young ladies to also learn. I have had students I taught and when we ask them to write what they want to be in future and some will say Madam, because of you I want to be a teacher. I think it’s enough motivation for them. And I tell them as ladies every woman you must learn. Knowledge is power, when you have knowledge you have everything.”
In his address, Mr.Duker, who doubles as the Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, said he is convinced education is the most impactful tool which will be used to change the world.
He believes that developing educational structures in his municipality should not be providing materials for teaching and learning, but also take into consideration, the welfare of the human resource that imparts knowledge into these students.
According to him, teachers are known to be the fulcrum around which these children develop to become useful adults, yet proper attention and care is not given to them to address their pressing needs.
As a teacher who has education as his topmost priority, Mr.Duker said he believes the best way to better the lots of his municipality is to put the teacher at the top by way of celebrating and motivating them.
He said even though the work of a teacher is challenging and daunting, they are less motivated hence the need to institutionalize this awards scheme to celebrate them.
“I am aware that, arguably, teachers are minimally motivated irrespective of the strenuous task they go through. I also aware that some teachers ply their practice in very remote areas that are not commutable by transport yet they continue to give their best, irrespective. These are some of the reasons why I set off this journey through your good selves to change the face of teaching in the WassaFiase areas.”
Aside from the awards programme, the MP said several initiatives, some of which were aired, have been implemented in the sector covering students and teachers, as well as the education directorate.
They include presentation of 800 scholarships, donation of motorcycles, desktop computers, furniture, building materials, classroom blocks, airconditioned computer laboratories, dormitories, payment of school fees, printer and projector and provision of thousands of mathematical sets.
Several projects lobbied by the MP on behalf of the many educational institutions, including the University for Mines and Technology (UmaT), were also listed.
He noted that it was therefore not surprising that two years ago, the District League Table (DLT), as produced by the United Nation International Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF), the National Development Planning Committee (NDPC) Centre for Democratic Development (DCC) and others, placed the Tarkwa-Nsuaem as one of the top seven Metropolitan, Municipal, District, Assemblies (MMDAs) in the country.
Mr.Duker said it has become imperative that the human resource is developed to commensurate with the mineral resources the area is blessed with, adding that the future can only be bright if the agenda to develop the human resource was well done in order to demand what is due them when it comes to the national cake.
“My vision is to have responsible education sector as far as this municipality is concerned. This is a natural resource endowered area and areas of this nature, education is not a priority. I grew up not seeing education as a priority in this municipality because of the gold that we have and now looking at the things that are unfolding in the world, we need to go beyond what we have to build the human resource base that will have the capacity to manage the natural resource available,” he explained.
He said, “That is what is motivating me to create a future that people will be so responsible and will be able to put government on its toes to account to the people. Because if government is not transparent that also in a way pushes us back as a country and as a community.
“Tarkwa, for instance, deserves more, looking at the threshold of gold we give to the country, looking at the manganese that we contribute and looking at the things we give we think we deserve more. We think that to whom much is given much is expected and if we are giving to Ghana, Ghana must give back to us more.”
He said this also informed the decision to launch the WassaFiase Students Union (WaFSU) at the event to push the agenda of the municipality.
In all, some 19 teachers and non-teaching staff from first and second cycle public schools were awarded in six different categories.
For the non-teaching staff category, Joseph Cudjoe, Salisu Mohammed and Victor A. Mensah were crowned winner, first runner-up and second non-teaching staffs. In the KG categories, Mercy Odom, Freda E. Banda and Vanessa E. Mensah were adjudged the best for that category.
At the Primary category, Abintu, Samuel Agyapong and Prescilla Appiah became winner, first and second runners-up respectively.
In the Junior High School (JHS) category, Alex E. Quansah, Joana and Jonathan Botsi came winner, first and second runners-up respectively
In the SHS category, Perpetual Bosomprah, Jeff Gbate and Belinda K. Shikah, also followed in that order.
In the head teacher group, Grace Acquah emerged the best, while Joseph Amihere and Benjamin Boateng placed first and second runners-up. Western Regional Minister Kwabena Okyere Mensah lauded his colleague for having his constituents at heart and sharing with them the resources at his disposal.
He said the deputy minister, who some had thought was going to be “one term MP” is performing incredibly well.
He emphasized the importance of teachers, adding that enrollment in Free SHS has increased incredibly, with quality not being an issue in the region.