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Ignore government's provocation, consider the future of trainees - NDC to CETAG

Dec 3, 2018 | Daniel Kaku
Members of the CETAG
Members of the CETAG

The National Youth Wing of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has made a passionate appeal to the leadership of the Colleges of Education Teachers Association of Ghana (CETAG) to ignore government's provocation and consider the future of the trainees and return to the negotiation table to end the impasse.

Tutors at the various Colleges of Education have been on strike since the beginning of November 2018 as a result of a disagreement with government over their market premium, book and research allowances.

The National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE) in consultation with the Ministry of Education on Friday directed all Principals of 46 Colleges of Education to release their students to go home.

The Director of Communications at the Ministry of Education, Mr Vincent Ekow Assafuah, who confirmed the development to the media said the colleges would reopen after the tutors impasse with government is resolved.

“Until we are able to deal with the issue, the students will be home,” he said, adding that government was willing to resolve the issue with CETAG.

However, he said, the CETAG leadership said they will only call off the strike after their November salaries, book and research allowances have been paid.

He added that government was unwilling to pay their November salaries and allowances.

But in a statement issued by the NDC's National Youth Wing and signed by its National Youth Organiser, George Opare Addo and copied to the media indicated that should this impasse continues, CETAG has nothing to lose but it will seriously affect the trainees and therefore urged Ministry of Education to sit up.

"We wish to draw the attention of the Ministry of Education to the fact that, CETAG has nothing to lose if this impasse continues. It is our students in the Colleges of Education across the country who will bear the brunt of Government's super-incompetence and insensitivity. It is therefore the sole responsibility of the sector ministry to ensure that this looming disaster is avoided. It is time to put arrogance and intransigence aside since it has not worked and indeed never works. Government must sit up", the statement bemoaned.

The statement appealed "We wish to appeal to CETAG to ignore government's provocation and consider the future of the trainees whom we know they cherish and return to the negotiation table with the Ministry of Education and the National Labour Commission. At the end of it all, it's the poor students who suffer, and we cannot compromise the quality of teachers we produce due to government's insensitive and recalcitrant posture".

The NDC's National Youth Organizer in the statement emphasized that the Akufo-Addo led government cares less about the education sector and added "Rather, it has held on to promoting its callous and iron-fist policies which are jeopardizing the future of students and destroying the quality and image of tertiary education in Ghana".

He worried "We recall that every decision by government since the group started it's strike action has been catastrophic and driven by bad faith. Denying teachers their salaries because they were striking exposes the Minister of Education as one who has totally lost his bearing as a public servant".

The party has therefore pledged its total assurance of standing with the trainees (students and CETAG. "We stand with our students and CETAG".

Below is the full statement
STATEMENT BY NDC NATIONAL YOUTH WING ON THE CLOSURE OF COLLEGES OF EDUCATION BY THE MINISTRY OF EDUCATION

The Youth Wing of the NDC has keenly followed and confirmed the rather arbitrary and retrogressive directive by the Minister of Education through the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE) to all the Principals of Colleges of Education to indefinitely close down their institutions.

We find this tragic development highly detrimental to all the gains we have made in our efforts to make our Colleges of Education excellent centers of learning for the training of teachers in the country.

It is even more troubling when you consider that this directive was necessitated by a prolonged strike by the Colleges of Education Teachers Association of Ghana (CETAG) over government's refusal to pay them their Market premium as well as book and research allowance.

The Market Premium under the Single Spine Pay Policy (SSPP) introduced by the erstwhile NDC administration was introduced as a pay administration system in order to attract and retain critical skills in the public service.

As required by law, CETAG and it's members are duly entitled to these incentives and are well within their rights to demand for same. The market premium paid must also reflect the new status of CETAG as tertiary lecturers. It is thus mind boggling that after according Colleges of Education tertiary status, the only thing that came to the mind of government is to give an order to trained teachers to render compulsory one year national service upon completion but this same government refuses to pay CETAG what is due them per their new status.

The Minister for Education, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, must not hide behind the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE) to continue his clandestine intention of undermining and cowing CETAG into submission. He and his outfit must recall CETAG back to the negotiation table and work towards an amicable resolution of the impasse.

This level of cluelessness coming right on the back of the KNUST fiasco cannot be allowed to continue. The lecturers and students of this country have had enough of this government's ineptitude.

We recall that every decision by government since the group started it's strike action has been catastrophic and driven by bad faith. Denying teachers their salaries because they were striking exposes the Minister of Education as one who has totally lost his bearing as a public servant.

This and many developments confirm clearly that the Akufo-Addo led administration cares less about our education sector and even more on what it needs to do to ensure there are progressive strides in the sector. Rather, it has held on to promoting its callous and iron-fist policies which are jeopardizing the future of students and destroying the quality and image of tertiary education in Ghana.

We wish to draw the attention of the Ministry of Education to the fact that, CETAG has nothing to lose if this impasse continues. It is our students in the Colleges of Education across the country who will bear the brunt of Government's super-incompetence and insensitivity. It is therefore the sole responsibility of the sector ministry to ensure that this looming disaster is avoided. It is time to put arrogance and intransigence aside since it has not worked and indeed never works. Government must sit up.

Finally, we wish to appeal to CETAG to ignore government's provocation and consider the future of the trainees whom we know they cherish and return to the negotiation table with the Ministry of Education and the National Labour Commission. At the end of it all, it's the poor students who suffer, and we cannot compromise the quality of teachers we produce due to government's insensitive and recalcitrant posture.

We stand with our students and CETAG.
Signed!
George Opare Addo
National Youth Organizer, NDC
Source: Daniel Kaku

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