NAGRAT strike – end in sight?
A glimmer of hope for a likely end to the strike by graduate teachers came through at the weekend after a meeting of the leadership of the National Association of Graduate Teachers.
The Accra meeting, called at the instance of the leadership of NAGRAT, was to decide next action after the Fast Track High Court ordered the teachers to return to the classrooms.
At their meeting on Saturday, NAGRAT members resolved to return to the classroom after an appeal against the Fast Track Court's order asking them to return to work has been determined, even an adverse outcome notwithstanding.
The Greater Accra Regional Chairman of NAGRAT, Angel Kabonu, who spoke with Joy News, said the association was not satisfied with the court's decision hence the appeal, but they have resolved to press their rights to as far as the determination of the appeal.
“We as an association have decided not to defy the court order however, we have decided to enter appeal because we feel it is our right to do so. In case the outcome of the appeal does not favour us, then we are bound by law to respect the court ruling. So that is what we as an association are waiting for.
Outside that, Kabonu also hinted at what could bring a dramatic end to the educationally debilitating strike.
“If good sense and good faith prevail, very eminent and respectable personalities have intervened and have gone very far with their intervention. If something positive comes out from that intervention, then I can assure you that a positive response will come from the association. Everything depends on the outcome of that intervention and the response of the association.”
Mr. Kabonu also explained that his earlier statement about teachers going back to the classrooms would teach students the wrong things, was to warn that there could be no productivity if teachers were forced back into the classroom.
Kabonu made the statement immediately after the court ruled that the strike by the graduate teachers was illegal and ordered them back to work.
Kabonu explained; “That statement is a statement to tell the whole public that when you are compelled to do something without respect and negotiation, you will not be able to do the thing from your heart.
“If you use the judiciary to compel an aggrieved person to go to class how are you sure that that person has let off his anger? So it is not a decision by the association that members should go to class and not teach the right thing, that is not the decision of the association.
“The association is just telling the public that with what is happening, with the situation where the authorities are not listening to us, it will affect education negatively because people are going back to the classroom as aggrieved persons.”
The over two months old strike has crippled second cycle education in the country and spilled over into basic school activities where other teachers, even though not NAGRAT members, have joined in solidarity.
NAGRAT embarked on the industrial action to back persistent demands for improved service conditions which they said had always received unredeemed promises over the years.
They resolved, in the current strike, never to return to the classrooms until their demands, including the removal from office of the acting Director General of the Ghana Education Service were met.
They hold him responsible as the stumbling block to the realisation of their demands, however he has denied the charge and asked for proof.