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01.06.2005 Regional News

Teachers demand better service conditions


Koforidua, June 1, GNA - Mr Solomon Djaba-Mensah, Eastern Regional Chairman of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), has cautioned that educational structural reforms without corresponding improvement in teachers' service conditions could not guarantee the desired quality education.

He pointed out that "no matter how positive-oriented the reforms would be, if the teacher's welfare is neglected, it would result in low morale", adding that such situation resulted in many of them leaving for further studies with about 30 per cent of them not returning to the classrooms.

Mr Djaba-Mensah said this at the second Quadrennial Delegates Conference of the New Juaben Municipal GNAT held under the theme: "Quality Education, the Welfare of the Teacher", at Koforidua on Wednesday.

He called on GNAT members to be prepared to do extra duty to help students fill the vacuum created by members of the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), currently on strike. This, he said, would help the final year students in the Senior Secondary School to be adequately prepared for their upcoming examinations.

He advocated the payment of extra-duty, risk and leave allowances to teachers and urged the government to institute better incentive packages for the training and re-training of teachers so as to retain them on the job.

Mr Djaba-Mensah suggested that as a long-term strategy, government should seek the empowerment of teachers not only academically and professionally but also economically.

The Regional Secretary of GNAT, Mr Simpson Aduamoah, called on members of the Association to unite to offer better services for themselves since the new Labour Law had opened the door for others to also enter the field.

He reminded them that the GNAT could only survive if its members were committed to providing good quality service and urged the delegates to elect dynamic leaders that could champion the course of teachers. The Municipal Director of Education, Ms Felicia Duku asked teachers not to make their extra curricula activities a priority at the expense providing good quality education for their pupils and students.

She asked GNAT to continue to offer proper services and not to resort to strike actions since there were other avenues for negotiation. Ms Duku appealed to the government to solve the various issues being raised by teachers, noting that the continued strike action by the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) did not augur well for the development of the country's education.