Fact-check: Education Minister on teacher status in Ghana misleading
Claim: Ghana’s education minister, Matthew Opoku Prempeh says Ghana has been ranked second in the latest Global Teacher Status Index
Verdict: Misleading. The Varkey Foundation which publishes the Global Teacher Status Index report measured teacher status using three different metrics. Ghana was 2nd in one, 5th in the other, and near-last in another.
The Minister for Education, Matthew Opoku Prempeh says Ghana has been ranked 2nd in a new Global Teacher Status Index report. He made the claim while touting the Akufo-Addo government’s achievements in the area of education since it assumed office in 2017, at a recent Nation Building Dialogues event in Accra. [19:58 – 20:30 minutes]
“Interestingly, just two days ago, 22nd October  there was a world ranking study that came out and Ghana was ranked second in the teacher survey. In the survey of 35 countries, 35,000 participants. The data was gathered by the Global Teacher Status index group, they found out that for countries that respected teachers, did more for teachers, they improve their economies and others, Ghana was rated second after China,” the minister said at the event held on Thursday October 29, 2020.
We found that Daily Guide newspaper in an online publication on October 22, 2020 also made the same claim.
But how true is this?
What is the Global Teacher Status Index
The Global Teacher Status Index is an in-depth opinion by Populus in 35 countries that explores the attitudes of people on different issues including fair salary for teachers, whether people think pupils respect teachers and how highly people rank their own education system.
The report is produced by Global education charity, the Varkey Foundation.
Regarding the Education Minister’s claim that Ghana ranked second to China in the Global Teacher Status Index released on 22nd October, 2020, we confirmed from the Varkey Foundation’s website that it indeed published a report in October 2020 titled “Reading Between The Lines.” The foundation said the report builds on the data gathered in the 2018 report.
In that 2020 report, the status of teachers in the 35 countries surveyed was measured in three different ways.
- Implicit Teacher Status
- Explicit Teacher Status
- Ranked Teacher Status
In the report, Ghana was ranked 2nd, 5th and near last respectively on the Implicit Status, Explicit Status and Ranked Teacher Status rankings.
We see above that Ghana placed 2nd in only one of the three metrics used in the 2020 report the Education Minister referred to.
We reached out to the Varkey Foundation seeking answers to two issues:
- The difference or relationship between the 2018 Global Teacher Status Index and the 2020 Reading between the lines report.
- Whether we can rely solely on the results of the Implicit Teacher Status ranking to determine Ghana’s position.
The Head of Advocacy and Analysis at the Varkey Foundation, Nicholas Piachaud responded to our queries are follows:
“The two reports are both on teacher status and they’re both using the same data, but they’re measuring teacher status in different ways. In all, this research looks at four different ways to measure teacher status around the world:
1. The Global Teacher Status Index(2018 report): An index created by comparing a) how people perceive respect for teachers in their country against respect for other professions in their country, b) how perceived levels of respect for teachers differ from the nearest comparable professions in each country; and c) whether people in each country think that pupils in their country respect teachers.
Ghana ranks close to last in the Global Teacher Status Index (33 out of 35 countries for which we have data).
2.a. Implicit Teacher Status: (2020 report): A measure of teacher status based on people’s automatic and unconsidered reactions about teachers. Ie what people seem to implicitly feel about them.
Ghana ranks second in the Implicit Teacher Status measure (2 out of 35 countries for which we have data.)
2b. Explicit Teacher Status: (2020 report): A measure of teacher status based on what people explicitly say they think about teachers. Ie what people say they actually think about teachers.
Ghana ranks fifth in the Explicit Teacher Status measure (5 out of the 35 countries for which we have data.)
2.c. Ranked Teacher Status: (2020 report): A measure of teacher status based on how people rank respect for primary, secondary and head teachers in their country against their respect for other professions in their country.
(Ghana ranks near last in the Ranked Teacher Status measure – our data show that people in Ghana think that primary, secondary and head teachers are significantly less respected than most other comparable professions in the country.)
The research seems to show that people in Ghana explicitly say and implicitly think very highly of teachers, but they believe that teachers are generally not as respected in the country as most other comparable professions.
We find that “Reading between the lines,” the 2020 report on teacher status as reported by the Varkey Foundation measured teacher status in three different ways and Ghana was second in only one of the three. The claim is therefore misleading as it clearly ignores Ghana’s position in the other two metrics used in the report.
The reporter, Jonas Nyabor, produced this fact-check under the auspices of the Dubawa 2020 Fellowship in partnership with Citinewsroom to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and to enhance media literacy in the country.