Want to be a millionaire in Ghana? …Try District Director of Education Hyperbolic? Over the Top? Exaggeration? May be; You be the Judge.

By Ebo Mends

A few weeks ago, November 5th 2013 to be
precise, Ghanaweb published two reports
sourced to the Daily Guide with headlines:
Education Director Blows GHc 100,000
Teachers’ Money and Ghc 8.5 billion GES case
adjourned. I am sure the second figure of
8.5 billion was quoted in old Ghana Cedis.
On Saturday November 9, 2013, Ghanaweb
reported another of such stories captioned
“Payslips for Sale” sourced to The Mirror. This
report had nothing to do with the Education
Service, but the spirit and essence of the
reporting is the same.

The first two reports caught my not so sleepy
eyes because for the past several months, I
have heard from former colleagues and
family members in Ghana about this scheme
that SOME District Directors of Education
(DDEs) have hatched, obviously in
collaboration with others, to defraud the
Government of Ghana of hefty amounts of
money. The same scheme also deprives the
secondary victims, newly “hired” teachers
money that technically they may be entitled
to but in reality, they (the teachers) are not
supposed to get.

This is what I am told is the process
currently operating in most districts in
Ghana. These descriptions came from two
very reliable sources, very close to what is
happening
Potential teachers seeking employment with
the Ghana Education Service (GES) submit
applications with supporting documents –
Applications, Academic Certificates, birth
certificates and testimonials – all in 4 copies
each, to the offices of the DDE. The
applicants are called for interview, after a
review of such documents, appearing before
a panel comprising, in some instances, of 2
Education Supervisors from the DDE’s office,
The Human Resource Manager and a Posting
and Transfers Officer.

At the interview,
among other things, original educational/
academic certificates are inspected to
ascertain their authenticity. I must state here
that my information is that at times, these
interviews are mere formalities, just going
through the motions, satisfying a procedural
and legal requirement – to go offer
applicants the opportunity to be assessed on
their merits. I am told, most times, the
applicants to be hired are already known
since behind the scenes actions had made
sure of that.
“Successful candidates” are subsequently
called to the District Education Office to fill
out New Entrants forms and an IPPD form,
ostensibly for payment information including
Bank Account details for onward transmission
to the Controller and Accountant General
Department (CAGD) in Accra. At this stage, it
all but certain that the applicants have been
offered a job. However, at the time of filling
out the IPPD form, the exact posting of the
applicant may not be known but it is safe to
assume that there is a hint as to where the
newly hired teacher would be going.
Certainty is established when the
appointment letter finally arrives.

Another
thing; Districts prefer that banks through
which the future salaries should be are
normally local – that is, banks located mainly
in the district, preferably the district capital.

The waiting period between the time that an
IPPD form is completed and submitted to the
CAGD on behalf of an applicant and the time
that the processing of all the necessary
documentation to finalize an applicant’s
receiving a formal appointment letter could
be anytime between 6 – 12 months. It takes
another 6 – 12 months for these teachers to
start receiving salaries.

The first payment of
salaries comes with the backdated salaries
(for these teachers) starting from the date on
the formal appointment letters.
Folks, this is where things get interesting.

The teachers are not obliged to start teaching
from the date of their appointments, in fact,
they are not told by the DDEs to assume
their teaching posts. The reason being that,
both the newly hired teacher and the DDEs
know from experience that, the teachers
would not receive any payment for another
10 months or 12 months (1 year). According
to those I spoke to in Ghana, the DDEs don’t
bother to insist that the teachers begin
teaching from their appointed dates because
since the teachers would not be attending
classes regularly, if at all, and the said
schools would have teachers only in name.

These newly appointed teachers don’t also
bother to report at their posts because they
are certain they would not be paid for a long
time. This objective situation is what breeds
the corrupt practice of embezzling public
funds. Remember when the payment of
salaries start, they are accompanied by 10
-12 months or so of “back pay”. For SSS
graduates, the monthly salary is around 500
Gh C. For Diploma of Education holders
(certificate awarded by the University of
Education, Winneba through its sandwich
programmes), the salary is between 900 and
1200 Gh C. Just do the calculation, a 10 or
12 month arrears, is quite a hefty sum for
either category of the pay scale.

When the salary arrears arrive, the teachers
are now given their formal appointment
letters but not until they are asked to go and
withdraw the money and bring it to the DDE’s
office. The district officers including the IPPD
coordinators and the banks and others are all
into this. However the main driver of this
process is the DDE because he/she has the
appointment letters. When the money is
brought to the DDE’s office, all involved have
no legal right to it. The teacher has not
taught a single day for the period that the
arrears cover, and both the DDE and the new
teacher know this. Whatever money the new
teacher gets or is given by the district
education and other officials, is a bonus.

What I am told happens is that the DDEs take
the lion’s share – anything between 70% and
90% of the arrears and hands over the rest
to the teacher. Sometimes the DDE tells the
teacher he/she is returning the rest of the
money into government coffers, which is as
believable as a vampire hating blood or liking
garlic. Both the DDE and the teacher have
fleeced the government and committed a
crime in the process, but who cares or dares
to report them?

So many questions beg for answers:
• In this computer age, why would process of
inputting (into) the CAGD system, details of
hired personnel of any kind take between 6
to 12 months to complete?
• Why does it take so much time to generate
appointment letters to prospective candidates
for teaching jobs?
• While these lengthy processes are taking
place, what happens to our kids in the
schools without teachers?
• Do Regional Directors of Education know
about these delays and the corruptions that
they breed?
• Do Deputy Ministers of Education in charge
of basic education know what is going on
their sector of responsibility?
• Has the Minister of Education heard about
these delays and if so what has he/she done
about them (I know the current sector
Minister is Prof. Nana Jane Opoku-Agyeman –
former VC of UCC)
• Is it not surprising that there are BNI
district offices through-out the country but
these very obvious corrupt practices that are
a threat to our future security are going on
almost everywhere?
• How long has this been going on?
I have deliberately refrained from accusing
all DDEs of this apparent crimes/corruption. I
intentionally used the word SOME not to
paint all DDEs with the same brush; it would
not be fair to do that. The two articles I have
referenced mentioned other culprits because
to pull this scheme off, other districts
officials in other departments would have to
be involved as they are as accomplices.
What is sickening is the fact that this rather
unhealthy and terrible situation is being
allowed to continue without serious
consequences for those involved, at least
until recently. I can assure readers that this
is just the tip of the iceberg.
When the District Assemblies concept was
muted and implemented years ago, its main
selling point was to decentralize decision
making to the local levels, in the districts,
with the understanding that those close to
the scene would better understand the felt
needs of our people.

This responsibility
brought with it important decision making
powers, and flowing from that the need for
public servants to be upright in the exercise
of such powers. No one, certainly not this
writer, is calling for such people to be angels.
However, this complete abuse of power and
lack of trust do not augur well for the
development of our nation.

I am sure there are such practices all over
our public service. Until we check these
abuses and corrupt practices, it will take us a
very long time to achieve any meaningful
development in our dear country.
For those who think this is only an NDC only
or NPP problem, and will therefore be
looking to blame one political party or other
for this state of affairs, I say to you, look in
the mirror and tell me who/what you see. If
you see a Ghanaian, then that is your
answer. We are our own worst enemies.

EBO MENDS, NEW YORK
Ebomends2003@gmail.com

One thought on “Want to be a millionaire in Ghana? …Try District Director of Education Hyperbolic? Over the Top? Exaggeration? May be; You be the Judge.”

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