WORLD TEACHERS DAY - STATEMENT FROM UNIONS

 

 

 

A STATEMENT FROM THE UNIONS IN EDUCATION AT THE COMMEMORATION OF 2017 WORLD TEACHERS’ DAY ON THURSDAY, OCTOBER 5, 2017 AT THE JACKSON’S PARK, KOFORIDUA, EASTERN REGION

 

·        Mr. Chairman

·        His Excellency, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Head of State of the Republic of Ghana

·        Honourable Ministers of State

·        Ag. Director General of the Ghana Education Service  

·        Divisional, Regional, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Directors of Education

·        Heads of Unions in Education

·        Our Eminent Chiefs

·        Distinguished Award Winners

·        Invited Guests

·        Colleagues

·        Ladies and Gentlemen

 

On behalf of the Unions in Education, I wish to extend our warmest compliments to all of you who have gathered here in solidarity with teachers in this country.

 

This year, the World Teachers’ Day also coincides with the 20th Anniversary of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) recommendation on the status of teachers in higher education, which was intended to help improve the working conditions of college and University faculty members throughout the world.

The celebration of this year’s event in Ghana marks the 23rd National Best Teachers and 3rd Best School Awards.  Our warmest greetings to all teachers and educational workers on this very important occasion.

The theme for this year’s World Teachers’ Day “Teaching in Freedom, Empowering Teachers” underscores two ideas that are essential to providing students with an education that inspires their imaginations and curiosity as well as instil in them a lifelong love of learning.

Teachers must have the freedom to teach in ways that engage all students.  As professionals, we should be equipped and trusted by Government and other stakeholders in the education enterprise to make the best decisions for our students.  For, we are guided by the fact that, today’s students are tomorrow’s best hope for a better future.  We therefore, must be free to advocate for the resources and support that students and our profession need.

 

UNIONS IN EDUCATION COMMEND GOVERNMENT

The Unions in Education commend Government for the bold step it took to implement its flagship programme – the free Senior High School Policy.  Undoubtedly, the absorption of the school fees and others by Government has come as a relief to most parents, especially those in the lower income bracket.

 

Mr Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, while commending Government for the implementation of the policy, we advise that care is taken to ensure that quality is not compromised in the process. Challenges that will arise in the implementation should be handled with circumspection for optimum benefit to be derived from the policy.

The Unions in Education prefer a relationship with Government that hinges on consultation, collaboration and co-operation as both parties play their respective roles to ensure the success of the policy.

We therefore, wish to register our displeasure with the current posture of the Ghana Education Service (GES) Management to side step due process in addressing disciplinary issues within the GES and call on the GES Council to take steps to intervene in order to protect the school environment.

Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, we would like to use this platform to bring to the fore, some of the challenges we face in the performance of our duty in the hope that immediate solutions will be found to them.

 

DELAYS IN SIGNING A NEW COLLECTIVE AGREEMENT

It is instructive to know that, the existing Collective Agreement between us and our employer (GES), expired on December 31, 2012 (that is, five years ago).  Since then, we have worked so hard to get the Ghana Education Service (GES) and the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) to meet us to re-negotiate a new Collective Agreement without success.

 

Taking into consideration His Excellency, the President of the Republic’s commitment to make the teacher the pivot of the transformation of our society, we appeal to the institutions concerned to make themselves available to reach a new Collective Agreement before the end of this year.

SALARY ARREARS

On the issue of outstanding salary and promotion arrears, though we have reached an agreement with the Ministry of Finance and other institutions to fast track the validation of the documents of the affected teachers for them to be paid, the process has not begun as we speak. This situation is sending a wrong signal among teachers, especially the effected ones and the earlier a solution is found to it, the better it will be for us all to avert any labour unrest in the foreseeable future.

 

TEACHING AND LEARNING MATERIALS (TLMs)

Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, the fact cannot be denied that teachers cannot perform very effectively without the appropriate Teaching and Learning Materials (TLMs).  The present level of TLMs in our schools does not augur well for teaching and learning that we can be proud of.

 

The Unions in Education therefore, appeal to the Ministry of Education to make adequate resources available to procure these items for our schools.

 

DELAYS IN PROMOTIONS

We would like to remind the Ghana Education Service (GES) of the delays in organizing promotion interviews for eligible teachers.  The Unions in Education appeal to the Ghana Education Service to work to expeditiously clear the backlog of teachers in this bracket to ease the pressure and frustration we are going through.

 

GNAT CONTINUES TO ASSIST THE NEEDY

Every year, as part of the celebration of the World Teachers’ Day (WTD), the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) assists fifty (50) needy school children in the host region with the provision of school attire, school bags, canvas boots, textbooks and stationery to motivate them to go to school.  To benefit from this gesture this year are pupils and students from Ekye D/A Basic School in the Affram Plains North and Atakora D/A Basic School in the Affram Plains South.  In addition to that, a school in a deprived area of the host region is also to be assisted to meet its most pressing need.

 

The Pleyo M/A Primary in the Yilo Krobo Municipality met the criteria for our assistance this year in the form of a pavilion type of classroom which demands packets of roofing sheets, a quantity of blocks and bags of cement to make their classes Five and Six classrooms comfortable for teaching and learning.  As I speak, these two classrooms are under palm fronds which place both teachers and leaners as the mercyof the weather.

 

As an Association, we shall continue to contribute our quota to ensure that both teachers and learners find themselves in an atmosphere that promotes sound academic work.

 

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, I wish to, on behalf of the Unions in Education, congratulate our gallant award winners for making us proud.

 

Today, we are celebrating you, our amazing teachers, for dedicating yourselves to our noble profession.

 

APPEAL TO HIS EXCELLENCY

Before I resume my seat, I would like to humbly ask His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Ghana, to present a school bag to a pupil/student on behalf of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT).

 

Thank you.

 

MS. PHILIPPA LARSEN

(AG. NATIONAL PRESIDENT, GNAT)

 

On behalf of the Unions in Education.

 

Dated: October 5, 2017