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27.07.2004 Regional News

Teachers boycott classes in solidarity with colleague

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Apenimadi (Ash), July 27, GNA - Teachers at Apenimadi in the Atwima District of the Ashanti Region have boycotted classes in solidarity with Mr Joseph Hamlet Osei, Head Teacher of the local basic school, whose house was allegedly burnt down by illegal chainsaw operators.

The people of the town have called for his immediate transfer and the teachers had since last Wednesday deserted classes and left the town in protest against the alleged attempt on the life of Mr Osei. The residents accused Mr Osei who is also Assemblyman for Apenimadi-Saakrom of devoting more of his time to his personal business instead of teaching and inciting the teachers to boycott classes.

The call for the transfer of Mr Osei was made when Mr Eddy Obeng-Darko, Atwima District Director of Education met the community after media reports that the Head Teacher's residence had been burnt down by some illegal chainsaw operators.

Mr Yaw Agyapong, the School Management Committee (SMC) Chairman, said the formation of the Community Biodiversity Conservation Group (CBCG) by the Forestry Commission to protect the Tano-Offin forest reserve had nothing to do with teaching and learning and yet Mr Osei concentrated more on timber matters than education, which he said was virtually collapsing the school.

Mr Anthony Nkrumah, Chairman of the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA), denied the allegation that Mr Osei's life was in danger and criticised the teachers for boycotting classes and leaving the town. He said Mr Osei had lived in the community for the past 17 years and nothing happened to him.

Mr Joseph Opoku, Chairman of the Unit Committee, said the community had invested a lot in education including the construction of a four-bedroom teachers' bungalow and would not allow the investment to go waste.

Mr Obeng-Darko asked the teachers to return and resume classes immediately or face severe sanctions, warning that, the District Education Directorate would not tolerate any act of indiscipline and unprofessional conduct from any teacher.

He cautioned them against acts that would tarnish the image of the Ghana Education Service (GES) and the credibility of the teaching profession and said parents and pupils should not be punished at the expense of a teacher's unprofessional attitude.

When Mr Osei was contacted, he denied engaging in his personal business and said his duty as Assemblyman included protecting the Tano-Offin forest reserve, which had incurred the displeasure of the community.

Last Monday, about 23 illegal chainsaw operators were alleged to have attacked members of the Community Biodiversity Conservation Group with offensive weapons and set the house of Mr Osei ablaze.

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