THE PRESIDENT of the of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), Joseph Kwaku Adjei, has taken a swipe at the ruling government on issues bordering on the National Pension Scheme (NPS), saying, “The feett dragging on the part of the government on the launch of the National Pension is irritating teachers,” adding that the situation will not augur well for labour relations in the country.
According to Mr. Adjei, the decision to put the NPS on hold continues to be a bother to teachers who “unfortunately are suffering under the SSNIT Pension Scheme.” He said it took teachers a series of demonstrations to get the previous government's attention to replace the existing SSNIT Pension Scheme.
Mr. Adjei, who made the remarks on Thursday in a speech read on his behalf by the national Secretary of GNAT, Irene Duncan, at the Third Quadrennial Regional Conference of the Volta Regional branch of the GNAT, said with such efforts put in by teachers to get the old pension scheme replaced, “it will be unwise to sit by and watch the old scheme rolling month after month, thereby aggravating the plight of teachers in the country.”
Mr. Adjei noted that the issue concerning pensions is a serious one because it affects the lives of thousands of dedicated and loyal Ghanaians who have sacrificed their all to train the human resource that the country needs to develop, adding that such people must therefore not be made to suffer when they go on retirement.
The GNAT President also noted that the responsibility allowance paid to deserving teachers continues to be incredibly low, saying, “In fact, the recipients of this allowance see it as an insult” and called on the government to take a good look at the allowance issue to enable it come out with a package that will rest it for many years.
He lamented that professional teachers who enter the universities with their own resources because the quota system does not allow them to be paid for the four years, have been refused posting after graduation.
According to him, 567 professional graduate teachers who have completed their studies and have duly submitted their posting forms to the Ghana Education Service (GES) for posting have been denied the chance to go and teach.“The explanation is that their names were deleted from the payroll when they entered the university courses without study leave, hence they cannot be posted,” he said.
The professional teachers, he observed, are languishing at home when the nation keeps crying that there are shortage of teachers in the country and called on the GES and the government to as a matter of urgency review “this so called” policy and tap the full capacity of these teachers for the sake of the country.
His outfit, he said, has noted with grave concern, political interference in certain areas of the GES set up.
He pointed out that the GES has a process of recruiting, posting and transferring its employees and also has grievance handling procedures by which its employees who are seen to have contravened the code of discipline are subjected to in order to ensure fairness to all.
“We will therefore, as a matter of principle, resist any attempt by any political office holder to circumvent these processes for personal gain,” he warned.
He appealed to members not to allow political persuasions to divide them “for after all, governments go and governments come but the profession remains.”
He also bemoaned the situation where newly-trained teachers work for long periods before receiving their first pay and appealed to the GES and government to ensure that young teachers are not dissuade d from giving in their best.
The Volta Regional Minister, Joseph Amenorwode, in a speech read on his behalf, said the government has genuine and achievable policies for education and teachers.
He pointed out that government has through its in-depth analysis identified a number of factors that continue to threaten and militate against progress in education delivery and have started the process of addressing them. He mentioned increment in Capitation Grant and School Feeding Grant by 50 percent as some of the steps to address the problems.
From Wise Donkor, Ho