Robbing Teachers of their Due: The Responsibility Allowance
The responsibility allowance is a legitimate allowance paid to teachers with additional responsibilities. In the current Ghana Education Service (GES) Collective Agreement with teacher unions in the Education Service, the responsibility allowance has been captured as 'supervision allowance' in Section 18(5) of the document.
The Section 18(5) of the Collective Agreement spells out the categories of positions in the GES which make an employee eligible for the allowance, a percentage of one's monthly gross salary. According to the document, Headteachers and Assistant Headteachers are entitled to the responsibility allowance in the Basic Schools. In the Senior High School (SHS), Headmaster/Headmistress, Assistant Headmaster/Headmistress, Senior Housemaster/mistress, Housemaster/House Mistress, Form Master/Mistress, Head of Department and the Guidance and Counseling officer are all qualified to take the allowance.
There is, however, a real cause for teachers in the GES to vent their long nursed spleen of worry and disappointment on how most qualified teachers are gradually being robbed of this allowance. Just as the several other allowances enshrined in the Section 18 of the Collective Agreement have for long been denied teachers (Allowances for Science and Mathematics and Technical teachers, Transfer Grants, Rent Allowances, etc), the responsibility allowance is likely to suffer the same fate of extinction from the payroll of qualified teachers.
The first evidence of non payment of the responsibility allowance is clear on how Assistant Headteachers in the Basic Schools have been wiped out from payment even though they are qualified to take the allowance. It must be emphasized that no Assistant Headteacher in the Basic Schools across the country enjoys a dime of the responsibility allowance.
For the Headteachers at the Basic School level, there have been barricades of conditions that must be satisfied before being deemed eligible to enjoy the allowance. For instance, the Headteacher must not be below the rank of a Principal Superintendent (P/S) and must be a Headteachers of a Basic School (a school with both Primary and Junior High School). Is it that Headteachers of the single stream schools (either Primary or JHS Head) and those below the rank of P/S do not, and/are not expected to perform any supervisory role like their colleagues heading the Basic Schools? Are they also expected to attend meetings away from their schools and perform other official functions (bearing every cost with their meagre salaries) with their colleagues who take the allowances?
The situation of robbing teachers of the responsibility allowance due them even becomes worse when a teacher enjoying the allowance is being promoted to the next rank. A teacher promoted from P/S to A/D II has his/her responsibility allowance automatically taken off leaving the teacher with virtually no significant salary increment after promotion. Luck becomes the last resort for reinstatement of the allowance for such a teacher after reapplication.
In the SHS, teachers with the responsibility of Form Masters/Mistresses who have had their responsibility allowance automatically taken off their salary after promotion, have for the past two years, been denied an opportunity to reapply for reinstatement. Sadly, there has been no official explanatory document by the GES on this development, confirming and affirming teachers' suspicion of an "elimination by rough tactics" by the employer.
This is where the teacher unions must be heard speaking for the voiceless teachers who are being robbed of their due. Qualified staff should be paid their responsibility allowances. The GES, through the National Inspectorate Board, should move out out the comforts of their offices to the grounds to make sure that teachers enjoying the responsibility allowances are duly qualified and discharging their various responsibilities responsibly. The Ghanaian teacher deserves better!
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