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18.03.2013 Editorial

Consider Plight Of Students

By DAILY GRAPHIC
Consider Plight Of Students
LISTEN MAR 18, 2013

The future of our youth is in danger with the threat by teachers to lay down their tools in protest against the government's failure to resolve their grievances relating to their service conditions.

If teachers carry through their threat, it will not be their first ever strike. However, in this particular instance, all the stakeholders, including the government, the educational authorities, parents and students, are worried because the action coincides with the conduct of the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).

Since the decision by the teachers to turn their back on the classrooms last Friday, the government has initiated many steps to prevent the industrial action.

The high-level interventions culminated in a meeting at the Flagstaff House yesterday between the government and leaders of teachers' unions. Although the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) was not represented at the meeting, the leadership of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) and the Teachers and Educational Workers Union (TEWU) attended to put their case before the government, led by the Chief of Staff, Mr Prosper Bani.

The government has appealed to teachers to call off their intended action and return to the negotiation table, so that they do not put the future of students in danger.

It is difficult for us to appreciate the issues at stake, especially when the parties in dispute are forcefully arguing their case in order to present the other party as being responsible for the stalemate.

Listen to the teachers: The two unions said last Friday that “the situation has become irrevocably hopeless and the relevant authorities should take full blame for any eventuality.”

However, the Ghana Education Service (GES) has explained that discussions have not broken down to necessitate the threat of industrial action by the teachers.

The saying that when two elephants fight it is the grass that suffers is relevant in the present tussle between teachers and the educational authorities.

As teachers and the GES engage in the tango over improved working conditions, our children in senior high schools (SHS), especially those in final-year, are experiencing serious headaches.

Long before this tussle between teachers and the educational authorities came to a head, parents of students in third year in SHS had been complaining about inadequate preparations by their children for the WASSCE.

Whatever the grievances of the teachers, the Daily Graphic appeals to them to rethink their stand and abandon the threat to put down their chalk from today.

Our President has said time and again that our youth are the leaders of today, not the future, and it is for this reason that we think the people who form the character of our leaders of today must not go on strike to disrupt society's efforts at preparing them for leadership roles now.

The Daily Graphic asks the teachers to reflect seriously on the appeal by the GES and rescind their decision to go on strike.

“We wish to appeal to all teachers to be mindful of any action that will jeopardise the future of children they have worked hard to prepare for these examinations,” the service said.

For the sake of students, especially those in final-year, the Daily Graphic adds its voice to calls on teachers to call off their strike and continue to dialogue until answers are found to their concerns.

While we are at it, we also call on the GES and the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission to deal promptly with the issues raised by the teachers to avert the disruption of academic work.

The Daily Graphic reminds the parties that there can be no resolution of the dispute if teachers and the educational authorities take entrenched positions.

We must dialogue in an atmosphere of mutual trust and without conditionalities.

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