Professor Ransford Gyampo of the Department of Political Science, University of Ghana, has asked government, through Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta, to factor “the poor conditions of service of university teachers” in the 2022 budget.
The University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) went on strike this year because they wanted the government to restore their salary values of 2013.
In 2013, the entry point monthly salary of a university lecturer hovered around $2,084.
In 2021, the same lecturer is paid around $997.
The demand of lecturers this year has been a restoration of the 2013 salary values.
In an open letter addressed to the Finance Minister, Prof Gyampo reminded the government not to present eloquent figures for all sectors and forget about the main demand of university teachers during the budget presentation.
“The MoU signed to increase annual research allowance (not monthly salary) to USD1,600, which works out to about only USD130 a month top-up of our research allowance, has been rejected by UTAG members”.
“Please, be reminded that research allowances are not salaries”, he said.
“They are monies to undertake research to discover knowledge to aid teaching”, he clarified.
“Also, no serious researcher discovers anything with USD130 a month,” Prof Gyampo explained in his letter.
He said the silence of university lecturers now is only strategic.
“We have been concerned about the plight of our students and hence decided not to abandon them mid-stream in the academic year. Now, many of them across the country are on vacation and Legon, the premier university, vacates this month. It is our hope that all interventions including adequate budgetary provisions would be made to cater for the very small demands of university teachers,” he stated.
He urged the finance minister not to present figures that improve the conditions of service of colleague political appointees and their article 71 officeholders and get others to plead with university teachers to “accept to live in poverty and poor conditions of service.”
“Sir, it won’t work this time,” he added.
Prof Gyampo warned that if their demands are not met, universities will vacate and reopen no more.
“Given the increased trust deficit, please be assured that no amount of appeal from whatever quarter would get us to rescind our decision, should we strike again. The last resort may be to get the very moribund National Labour Commission to send us to court again and to seek our imprisonment. People died to build this country for us and we are willing to go to prison just to secure the interest of the future generation of university teachers,” he said.