01.10.2005 Regional News

School pupils demonstrate against teachers' strike in Takoradi

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Takoradi, Oct. 01, GNA - Several school children, who reported for school and realised that their teachers were on strike on Friday demonstrated through some principal streets of Takoradi. The students in various school uniforms song "Why is it so! Why is it so! Carried their drawing boards on which "We do not want to miss classes' what is happening to the capitation grant" were written on them.

They later converged at the premises of Spice FM, a private radio station in Takoradi.

The students led by one Isaac Blay, a second year junior secondary school pupil, said the present impasse would seriously affect them, since school re-opened quite recently. He said they decided to demonstrate when they realised that their classrooms had not been opened as usual, due to a unilateral strike action called by teachers within Takoradi.

A visit to many schools in the metropolis revealed that, while teachers had failed to report for school, the children and some parents, who were not aware had come to the school.

Alhajia Memuma Sadiq, a parent told the GNA that she was highly disappointed that the newly introduced Capitation Grant, which had given hope to several children to enrol in school, would be suspended. She said the teacher's strike could seriously affect the programme, since many children in the Effiakuma zongo area would resume their truant behaviours. It would be re-called that teachers in the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis on Thursday withdrew their services indefinitely over the undue delay and refusal of the government to pay them their negotiated salaries.

The agitated teachers wearing red arm and headbands chanted "Action! Now! Action! Now! "Tsooboi" and "We want our money or no school". Their action that was decided by members attending a meeting in Takoradi was in defiance of the order from leaders, who have proposed a protest march on October 4.

The Western Regional Executives of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) convened the meeting to brief them on the latest state of affairs about their salary arrears and efforts being made by the National Executives to get the government to fulfil its pledge. Mr Joseph E. Amissah, Western Regional Secretary of GNAT told them that government had rather decided to pay the 10 per cent from June 2005 instead of March.

He assured them that the National Executives were at a meeting with the government on September 29 and would communicate the outcome of that meeting to them.

The teachers became furious when the Regional Secretary of the association told them that the negotiations between them and the government had reached a deadlock and had been referred to the National Labour Commission (NLC) for mediation.

They declared that they could no longer wait and would not go back to school until the government paid the arrears. A similar meeting with teachers took place at Shama.