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View Full Version : Are Teachers in Ghana Being Unreasonable?



Neo
6th March 2011, 08:07 AM
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Recent disturbing news from our motherland-Ghana, speak of teachers in the country threatening to boycott the Independence Day celebration on March 6, this year.

The teachers’ threat is attributed to “appalling discrepancies in their salaries following their migration onto the single spine salary structure.” The teachers claim “their expectations have not been met whilst others say they have not been migrated onto the single spine pay platform as promised by the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission.” Ghanaweb, March 3, 2011

One could argue that hitherto teachers in Ghana had been poorly paid and their working conditions not commensurate to the services they rendered. The teachers’ union in Ghana-the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) had to sit up and fight for the few “better” conditions teachers enjoy in the country. Some years ago, the same could be said of teachers in the Ontario Province of Canada. Not until about five or six years ago teachers in the province had to live with poor conditions of service. It took the dynamic leadership of teachers’ unions in Ontario to negotiate with the provincial government (in Canada education is the responsibility of the Provinces) to get better service conditions for teachers in the province. Such negotiations were devoid of industrial actions. They were peaceful and mature!

Why are we now experiencing teachers’ strike actions in Ghana as a means to “forcing” governments to improve teachers’ working conditions? Are teachers in Ghana being unreasonable in asking for their fair share of the national cake? Or is the government of Ghana being insensitive to the plight of education nowadays and as such making the work of teachers in the country too difficult as well as insignificant?

A Noble Profession:

From time immemorial, teaching has been a noble profession. From the days of Socrates to the time of Paul of the Bible students/graduates had spoken highly of their teachers (also called masters in some instances). The Holy Bible mentions teaching as one of the three top spiritual gifts from God that we must desire most for the growth of His church (read 1 Corth. 12:28). Interesting! Teachers make the medical doctors, the lawyers, the accountants, the engineers, the agriculturalists, the musicians, the pastors, the politicians, the nurses, the computer analysts and many other workers who contribute effectively to the building of a nation anywhere. This noble profession which propels education should not be seen at loggerheads with the main provider of education to the detriment of students and parents as being experienced in Ghana.

The Situation as in Ghana:

The Ghana government must be lauded on its efforts to open more public universities as we saw in the Volta Region recently and abolishing all fees for basic education as well as increasing enrolment at that level. However, to ensure quality education for all children the government must provide better incentives to attract teachers to deprived communities.

As much as I would appreciate incentive packages for teachers who work in rural or “needy” communities in Ghana, I would like to see a comprehensive appraisal and overhauling of conditions of service for teachers to make them more dedicated to the PROFESSION they have chosen. This should include teacher training and in-service training for serving teachers. One would argue, they knew the profession before entering it. It’s a sacrificial job! Well, how long should teachers (obviously, makers of the all workers, including the President of the land, who build the national economy) be made to sacrificed their welfare and quality of education at the altar of the national cake? Could teachers be asking for too much? Should our education system be made to suffer by disagreements between the government and teachers’ unions? Is there any better way of ending teachers’ strikes other than neglecting them?

Meanwhile, with the current situation in Ghana, the Deputy Education Minister, Mahama Ayariga has assured the nation that, “a meeting is underway with the leadership of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) and National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) to iron out the discrepancies.” “We all agree that Government and the Union should remain engaged to address the issues being raised across the country by the teachers. Meanwhile there is a technical team in Dodowa now that is working to correct the anomalies that have been raised by some of the workers in terms of people not having the migration taking place in respect of their salaries or those who have even been underpaid” Mr Ayariga said (Citi News, March 2, 2011).

He therefore urged the teachers not to lay down their tools, saying the threats to boycott the Independence Day celebration on March 6, was not the solution. He explained that officials from the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission, GES Management, GNAT, National Association of Graduate Teachers, NAGRAT and the Controller and Accountant Generals Department are currently going through the test to run results to validate them and correct any anomalies.

I hope President John Attah Mills, once a teacher himself, will push his government to go beyond just increasing the salaries of teachers in Ghana to improving their working conditions to make the teaching profession attractive in Ghana. The new Education Minister Betty Moud Iddrisu

Undoubtedly, education is the biggest enterprise in any civilized society. Teachers play an important role in this enterprise. Their training and maintenance as professionals must be given serious attention.

Conclusion:

The situation is bad. Students and parents are suffering. Are teachers in Ghana being unreasonable with their demands on the Prof. Mills led NDC administration? Or is the Ghana government becoming negligent towards the welfare of teachers and the quality of education in that country as a whole? The best investment any country could make for its younger generation is to invest in quality and inclusive education.

If you think teachers in Ghana are being unreasonable with their demands on the government then THINK AGAIN!



Source: Joe Kingsley Eyiah