Teacher union, All Teachers Alliance Ghana (ATAG) has expressed concerns about what they call political interference in Ghana’s educational system.
The group said the interference is hurting education in Ghana hence must stop.
A statement they issued on Tuesday January 18 said “We believe Ghana’s education system had suffered in the last two decades because of a lack of policy direction and incessant interference by politicians.
“This is hurting our educational system and it is affecting the teaching and learning environment. Teachers are the least considered in all these policies.
“They are only left to implement them without clear direction or motivation. We ask ‘how can we improve teaching and learning if teachers are not considered in policy decisions.
“For us, in the All Teachers Alliance Ghana, we will continue to raise the issues and ensure that government and all stakeholders pay rapt attention to current happening in our educational sector and to find a lasting solution to ever polluting educational environment due to lack of policy direction and political interferences.”
Below is their full statement…
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
TO ALL MEDIA HOUSE
ALL TEACHERS ALLIANCE GHANA (ATAG)
We would want to bring to the attention of the public and the government on many happenings in the educational sector that have culminated into falling standards and teacher demotivation.
It will interest you to know that the trend in the education sector points to many disjointed policies that the pieces could not even hold together. Some issues need much to be desired and we in the All Teachers Alliance Ghana (ATAG) will make sure they remain attended to.
(a) First and foremost , the other three pre-tertiary teacher unions led by GNAT had proven beyond all doubt that they are not committed in any way towards seeking the best interest of teachers in this country. There are countless instances where teacher unions led by GNAT had issued joint communication demanding certain actions from the government. What we have realized is that these communiques are only meant to appease the anger of members. Not long ago, a joint press conference which was organized in favour of the TM1 Laptops indicated that the three teacher unions gave GES up to 31st December to distribute all laptops and gave a conditional clause to act otherwise if GES fail to heed to them. 31st December is gone already and nothing of any sort is being pursued by these unions. Other countless examples are there for teachers to read between the lines that GNAT, NAGRAT and CCT are only peddling their leadership interest as against the collective interest of teachers in this country.
(b) It is becoming frustrating to hear the government’s continuous promise to secure housing policies for teachers in this country. The current government through President Nana Addo had made four key promises on housing since 2017 but there are no policy directions to give hope to teachers that these promises are feasible. Already teachers conditions of service are poor and the collective bargaining agreement signed between The Unions and the Government is begging for implementation. It becomes mind-boggling for the government to promise housing units in the vacuum without evidence of commitment towards the good scheme. We want to remind teachers that the bargaining agreement that is binding their employment is dormant and just paperwork. Until the government begins to take that document seriously and do everything written in there, we cannot assimilate further promises from him.
(c) Again, the ever-controversial TM1 laptop issue is still not going to sleep soon. We want to remind GES and MOE that the battle to get quality stuff for teachers continues unabated and they should not rejoice over a certain court decision. We do not want to preempt the court, but we want to send a signal to them that the judgment gotten by KA Technologies at court can never be the true reflection of the pending matters. We are liaising our boot to relist our case and continue to pursue the matter to the latter without fear. We want to maintain that the TM1 laptop is not fit for its purpose and that teachers deserve better than this. What we know is that teachers have paid fully for the laptops because our pension money, as well as our professional allowance, had been used to purchase the gadget. The government does not have any hands in it all. It is our own money that has been orchestrated to give us laptops under the pretence of the government is providing us with teaching aids. It is the most subtle means of luring teachers into the biggest 21st-century looting brigade by the Ministry of Education and GES in collaboration with squatters (GNAT, NAGRAT and CCT).
(d) Again, the teachers’ condition of service is worsening under current economic turbulences. We can say without mincing words that teachers are the most affected professionals in these hard and crucial times. It will interest you to know that apart from our salaries, teachers do not receive any form of allowances to boost their motivation. Teachers solely depend on their salaries to rent, pay utilities and cater for their families. The current salary rate of teachers is nothing good to write home about and many teachers are struggling to make ends meet amidst the economic crisis. Prices of food items and petrol continue to rise every day and the current GH₵2400 salary for an ADII teacher cannot withstand the economic harmattan that we are experiencing now. Teachers have families and relatives as well as other dependents and should nothing be done about this crisis, our poor economic state will impact the outcome of education badly. Teacher attrition according to a report by African Education Watch is soaring because of the many frustrations staring at them. We call on the fair wages and salary commission to review salaries of teachers as a matter of urgency because educational productivity is at the brink of serious falling standards if teachers are left hungry and struggling economically on the job.
(e) We have realized also that the many educational policies that had been introduced by this government are yet to have the required impact. Some of them had created gaps and crises already. A notable among them is the introduction of the new curriculum (Common Core Programme), where JHS students don’t know their fate regarding their stay in school and what they are supposed to learn. The minister of education was recently heard talking about another policy where these same JHS students will not be allowed to take BECE but will progress through assessment to the SHS. A whole lot of confusion and lack of policy direction is disturbing the smooth environment of teaching and learning in our schools. The most cancerous among these policies, so to say, is the double-track system. It is having all the negative impacts but out of expediency, one way or the other, the government had remained silent and adamant about the situation. WE want to remind our minister, who has all the world experience in Education, to as a matter of urgency ensure that there is a well-defined policy direction for all the policies that are making waves to ensure that we do not frustrate the system to our disadvantage.
(f) The introduction of the semester programme to the basic schools right from the KG is an added load to the already burdensome profession. The level of harshness that accompanies the calendar in terms of learning duration and staying in school is excruciating. The calendar also has the potential of demotivating children and facilitators to continue to participate actively in teaching and learning. Absenteeism among pupils and facilitators will soar in the face of boredom that this new calendar comes with. The workload on teachers will be increased without any sort of motivation or incentives. This is highly insensitive and awkward for the employer to subject the employee to such an environment of distress against the labour laws of this country. We will not condone such a weird attitude and ask GES as the matter of urgency to review this kind of demotivating calendar in our educational system. Whose interest are they serving? The Pupils, Facilitators or Government?
We believe Ghana’s education system had suffered in the last two decades because of a lack of policy direction and incessant interference by politicians. This is hurting our educational system and it is affecting the teaching and learning environment. Teachers are the least considered in all these policies. They are only left to implement them without clear direction or motivation. We ask ‘how can we improve teaching and learning if teachers are not considered in policy decisions. For us, in the All Teachers Alliance Ghana, we will continue to raise the issues and ensure that government and all stakeholders pay rapt attention to current happening in our educational sector and to find a lasting solution to ever polluting educational environment due to lack of policy direction and political interferences.
Albert Dadson Amoah