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11.01.2010 Education

Addae-Poku Heads NAGRAT _ He Pledges To Use Dialogue

By Daily Graphic
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Mr Christian Addae-Poku has assumed the leadership of the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) with a pledge that the association will use dialogue to get what is due its members.

“We will improve our relationship with the Ghana Education Service (GES) and work hard to use dialogue to resolve issues as has always been the case. This is not to say that other issues may not be on the table when the situation demands. We in turn expect commitment and fair play from management and other players in the labour industry to ensure harmonious work environment,” he said.

Mr Addae-Poku, a teacher of English at the Nkawie Senior High Technical School, was speaking at a ceremony at which he took over the mantle of leadership of NAGRAT from Mr Kwame Alorvi, who has been President of the association since September 2003.

He said the association would pursue administrative reforms that would enable it to meet the needs of members, adding that the association needed these reforms.

He said facilities such as office accommodation for national and regional secretariats would have to be provided at strategic places to provide service to members.

Mr Addae-Poku indicated that NAGRAT would take up responsibilities such as organising in-service training and refresher courses for teachers to improve their quality.

“What we need now is a new era of responsibility in which every teacher will have a duty to himself, his profession and society and this my colleagues and I do hereby pledge our undivided commitment,” he said.

He added that poor remuneration, inadequate training and retraining, low morale in the service, high retention rate and the lack of collegial relationship in the service had denied the job its professionalism, and that “it behoves us all now to create the enabling environment for the profession to claim its rightful position in society if we are to achieve education for all by the year 2015”.

Mr Addae-Poku said for a decade and a half years graduate teachers had fought hard to establish the association and given it the might to amplify the voices of voiceless teachers within the GES.

However torrid and frustrating the journey had been, he said, “we have never wavered in our struggle for quality teaching and learning, better learning environment, better conditions of service for teachers as well as fulfilling our constitutional right to form or join a trade union of our choice”.

Mr Alorvi, for his part, expressed his gratitude to officers and regional executives for their support throughout his tenure of office.

“I will also like to thank the office staff, both national and regional, for their dedication to duty and encouragement,” he added.

He said when his team of executives took over the leadership of NAGRAT on September 12, 2003, the challenges were daunting in spite of the tremendous effort put in by its pioneer officers to change things for the better.

Mr Alorvi said the challenges included a low membership drive due to the uncertainty of the association’s development and the problem of the automatic deduction of dues from the salaries of graduate teachers by the Controller and Accountant General’s Department for an association they had not opted to join.

“In summary there was general despondency among the graduate fraternity. These problems had to be confronted head on by leadership bringing us into a collision course with those who did not want to see reason. We confronted the GES and its council, the Ministry of Education, Controller and Accountant General’s Department, heads of schools, Ministers of State, National Security apparatus, the National Labour Commission and even the seat of Government, the Castle,” he stated.

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