Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Bio-metric Registration

I’m not sure how the system for paying teachers works here. I know there are some who haven’t been paid for months or years. I wonder if they still turn up for work. There will be little that is electronic, I feel. I understand that there are plenty of teachers around the country collecting more than one salary. This is due to a few loop holes. One is that people have a variety of names… given, family and some pertaining to the day of the week they were born etc. these can be spelt in a variety of ways too. In addition many people don’t know their date of birth so may give more than one when asked on different occasions. All this means you are likely to have duplications of your details with slight differences. Also, teachers who die are not always removed from the system.

Evidently, a programme of Biometric Registration is being rolled out across the country to “clean” the records and find out how many teachers there really are in Ghana. This week it was the turn of Nadowli District. A team arrived from Accra and took over the Teachers’ Resource Centre. There was some confusion over the order in which education staff would be registered. In the end it was District Officers followed by Student Teachers before those qualified in schools. The process took hours and some were sent away and told to return on Saturday.

Apparently, original documentation of everything pertaining to your birth, qualifications, employment and pension was required. After a lot of panicking word went around that the District Director could sign your photocopies and then those would suffice. Evidently, she sat outside the centre every day for hours signing photocopies. Finger prints and photos were taken and for 1 cedi they would laminate your registration document for you.  All this had to be done in person and everyone had precious few days notice. If you don’t attend this registration you will not be on the records and will not be paid! We were trying to imagine how this would be organised at home. It is just as well nobody “goes away on holiday” here. There is no danger of someone having booked a fortnight on a beach somewhere and being unavailable.

I can't imagine how long this process will take before the whole country has full registration. It is to be hoped that the system can cope and that it will be more efficient and fairer in the near future.

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