THE PRESIDENT of National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), Mr. Kwame Alorvi, has described the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) Administration as setting an all-time record in governance by dragging teachers to Court and freezing their salaries.
“ This is the first time in the history of Ghana that a government has sent teachers to Court in the wake of a strike action and gone ahead to freeze their salaries,” Mr. Alorvi told about 1,200 Central Regional NAGRAT members, who converged at the Cape Coast Centre for National Culture to be briefed on the Court order and the next line of action to be taken by the National Executives.
“Even in military regimes, teachers were not taken to Court and it is very difficult to understand why a government which calls itself a listening government can act in this manner,” he said amid cheers from the members who unanimously agreed to continue the strike action until their demands were met.
“Why didn't the government take Doctors, Nurses and Polytechnic Teachers Association (POTAG) to Court when they also went on strike,” he queried, explaining that government wanted to experience the 10 plagues which befell the Egyptians before it responded to the teachers' demands for implementation of 2004, 2005 and 2006 agreements, which were endorsed by the former Education and Sports Minister, Hon Yaw Osafo Maafo before he was booted out of office last April in a presidential reshuffle.
According to Mr. Alorvi, it was Cardinal Appiah Turkson and some church leaders who had met the Association to find out how their problems were. In addition, Deputy Finance Minister, Professor Gyan Baffour had also met the National Executives to discuss the issues, claming the Minister said that their demand would be included in the next year budget.
He said the Education, Sports and Science Minister, Papa Owusu Ankomah had refused to meet the leaders of the emerging teaching force for reasons best known to him.
He said at one of the said meetings, a certain man called Nana Boakye, who styled himself as a concerned parent and had come to plead on behalf of the students, was later uncovered as the Director of National Intelligence at the Chief of Staff's office and since the strike action, National Security has been monitoring the movement of the NAGRAT Executives.
Mr. Alorvi said he never contested any election on the ticket of the NDC, denying ever receiving a land cruiser and ¢10million cash as being peddled around by the NPP Women's Organizer.
NAGRAT Central Regional Chairman, Mr. Stephen Arthur, said the Association was tired of numerous appeals without prevailing on the government to look into the matter.
Vice Regional Chairman, Mr. Isaac Kofi Bosuh, said if steps were not taken, Training Colleges in Ghana would become empty in the next three years because of perception that teaching was not a lucrative profession.
“My son for instance, who secured two admission this year, one to the Polytechnic and another to the Training College, opted for the Polytechnic and I was very glad he did so because of my predicament,” Mr. Bosuh, who has taught for 30 years, told the members amid sympathetic shout “you are tired, you have done well.”
Regional NAGRAT Public Relations Officer, Mr. Aiden Adongo, urged members to discard Vanguard and Accra Daily Mail newspapers' publications, which linked the executives to a political party.
Meanwhile, the national leadership of NAGRAT, yesterday advised its members to take note of the court decision, declaring their strike as illegal and urged members to take note of the order to go back to the classroom.
The Ashanti regional chairman of NAGRAT, has also in a radio interview monitored in Accra yesterday stated that they had decided to comply with the court order whilst their leaders pursued further appeals to reverse the court's decision.
From Koforidua, Stephen Quaye reports that the Eastern Regional branch of NAGRAT on Tuesday issued a statement calling on its members to go back to the classroom.
Also speaking in a radio interview, the Greater Accra Regional Chairman of NAGRAT, Mr. Angel Carbonu disclosed that the association was considering appeals from various segments of the society and pointed out there was a meeting scheduled with ministers of religion yesterday, which would inform their final decision.