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GNAT Threatens Government Over Extra Classes

The Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), has threatened nationwide industrial action if the government fails to immediately engage teacher unions on a purported “extra classes” scheduled for August 2019 vacation.
The Association described the move as a deliberate unilateral decision by the Ghana Education Service (GES) to sideline teacher unions which was a gross violation of the collective agreement that set forward the conditions of service relating to salaries, wages and hours of work among others.

They cited other grievances including; delayed salary arrears, promotion and welfare issues.”We hereby reiterate that any unilateral attempt on the part of GES to deliberately ignore the teacher unions in the discussion of the extra classes and its remuneration during the vacation in August, will leave us with no option than to take action that may disturb industrial peace needed for teaching and learning to succeed,” it warned.

Mr Ahenkwa-Quarshie, the Labour Relations and Conditions of Service Officer at GNAT gave the hint at the end the 57th GNAT and Canadian Teachers Federation (CTF) ‘Nkabom’ Project Overseas in-Service Training Workshop,” in Cape Coast.

According him, their reaction was hinged on a letter sighted with reference number GES/D6/245/19/194 dated July 5, 2019 with the caption “Extra classes for schools during vacation” purported to have been authored by Professor Kwasi Opoku-Aamankwa, Director General, GES.

The letter ascribed the GES’ move to request from various schools across the Regions to be permitted to organise extra classes for form two students.

Mr Ahenkwa-Quarshie explained that in the said period, teachers ought to have their vacation and reminded GES that all matters connected with the conditions of employment of teaching personnel shall be conducted through the joint standing negotiation Committee.

That include; representatives of GNAT, NAGRAT, TEWU and CC-T on one hand and the management of GES as stated in section 3 and 29 of the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission Act 2007 (Act 737) and section 102 of the Labour Act, 2003 (Act 651).
Also, Mr Ahenkwa-Quarshie called for the suspension, engagement and upgrading or redesign of the Human Resource Management Information System (HRMIS) being implemented by the Public Services Commission as part of the Public Sector Reforms.

“In the light of this, GNAT wishes to call on government to suspend the project implementation for GES to allow the project coordinator to effectively consult stakeholders including; teacher unions to redesign it.
He said it created delays for teachers who were promoted to be put onto their correct grades thereby affecting their morale and welfare.

He added that the policy was having a toll on the upgrading of teachers saying “GNAT believes that the project is of national importance, the project design did not take the peculiarities if the GES into consideration in the design before teachers were migrated onto the system.”

The Association also commended the government for scrapping the policy, which resulted in huge accumulation salary arrears and rallied further support and stakeholders engagement to settle all outstanding by the end of August 2019.
Mr Ahenkwa-Quarshie was elated about the new curriculum scheduled to begin September 2019 to address the inherent deficiencies in the current curriculum – content overload, limitations of the objective-based curriculum and inability of the assessment system to provide sufficient data on which improvement in teaching and learning could be fashioned.

He said that has been sufficiently resolved by the new curriculum emphasized on the acquisition of Reading, Writing, Arithmetic and Creativity skills across the entire primary curriculum and sought to strengthen the teaching of Mathematics.

However, for the desired objectives to be achieved, he re-echoed the need for government and stakeholders to peruse vigorous training and retraining of teachers for the task ahead.
There must also be an effective provision of appropriate teaching and learning materials, equipment, and tools to ensure effective teaching and learning.

Source: Ghana News Agency

July 29, 2019

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