Accra, April 20, GNA - Government is to set up a five-member committee to investigate processes used for selecting teachers for study leave with pay, Mr. Yaw Osafo-Maafo, Minister of Education Youth and Sports said on Wednesday.
He said: " Government cannot allow the study leave with pay for teachers to be fraught with corruption, non transparency and favouritism."
The Minister was addressing demonstrating students from the University of Education, Winneba and Kumasi campus, University of Ghana, Legon and the University of Cape Coast after they had presented a petition to him in Accra on the selection process for teachers on study leave.
The students were teachers who had applied for study leave and had entered the universities without being granted such status by the Ghana Education Service (GES) who has also refused to pay them. Mr Osafo-Maafo said government recognized their grievances and that the only way the problem could be addressed was to wait for the findings of the committee for a holistic solution.
"Government is committed to a system that would favour and improve the conditions of teachers serving the country"
The teachers numbering about 200 gathered at the Ministry of Education and Sports after a three-hour demonstration through some principal streets of Accra from the Kwame Nkrumah Circle. Presenting the petition, Mr Asante Danquah, Chairman of the committee of affected student-teachers on study leave called on Government to review the whole selection process for study leave with pay this year because the system was "characterized by unprecedented forms and levels of corruption for the quota system for the 2004/2005 academic year."
He said it was unfortunate that some teachers who served in the cities indicated "deprived areas" against their names, whiles some have their registration numbers withheld, yet they have been granted the study leave with pay.
"They could not have done this without the connivance of the GES officials who work on study leave"
He said many teachers who were more qualified in terms of the number of years of active service and subject area of study were denied the study while others who were less qualified were considered. Mr Danquah called on the Ministry to lift all embargoes and restore all deleted names in the interim, while a holistic solution is sought.
He said the quota system for the 2004/2005 academic year was unfair and that "most of us entered the service because of the prospects like the study leave with pay and it is therefore unfortunate for staying in the university for two semesters, only to be told to go back to the classroom or forfeit our salaries."
He said that as part of the conditions of service of the Ghana Education Service, a teacher who has taught progressively for three years after graduating from a certified training college qualifies to enjoy the facility.
He said most of the teachers applied for study leave with pay for 10 months before the university admission letters were issued so what prevented the Ghana Education Service from coming out with the final list of those who qualified for the study leave with pay before admission were made.