GNECC’S STATEMENT ON TEACHERS’ STRIKE
The Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition-GNECC wishes to express its concerns over the strike action declared by the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) and the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), as well as the manner in which this dispute has been handled.
As a country whose constitution guarantees the right to education, both Government and all stakeholders in the sector, have a responsibility to ensure that no Ghanaian child’s effort to access and participate in education in all its forms is hindered, and that the best interest of the child is paramount in all issues related to education.
It is in view of this that the Coalition is greatly distressed that the strike action has been called at a time when final year students in senior high schools across the country have commenced their final examinations (WASSCE). As teachers serve as invigilators during the exams, the strike action could disrupt the smooth conduct of this all important examination, and likely cause serious psychological issues for candidates, especially as they are unsettled as to when this impasse will be resolved.
The strike action, if not resolved quickly, will disrupt the academic calendar in both secondary and tertiary institutions.
GNECC is also very saddened by an emerging culture in the sector characterized by an annual recurrence of industrial actions and strikes by teachers. Most of the teachers’ concerns are traceable to un-resolved labour demands and Government’s failure to address them comprehensively. We wish to call on Government and its appropriate agencies, to be more proactive in ensuring that this trend becomes an issue of the past.
The coalition is convinced that strikes and other industrial actions do not serve the best interests of our cherished pupils/students, who have been referred to as ‘our future leaders’. Neither do such actions by teachers serve the interest of a nation whose standard of education, especially at the pre-tertiary level, has fallen in recent years, with no clear signal of recovery in sight.
The Coalition, as a major stakeholder in the sector, is therefore calling for a quick and prompt response by all parties (Government, MOE, GES and the Teacher Unions) to end this dispute. All parties must demonstrate commitment to the process for resolution with best interest of the Ghanaian child at the fore-front of such effort.
In furtherance of this, the Coalition specifically calls for the following:
- That GNAT and NAGRAT should co-operate with the constitutionally mandated bodies including the Labour Commission in seeking arbitration on their concerns with Government.
- That the Labour Commission should go beyond paying the usual lip-service to the provisions in the Labour Act and fully utilize the power vested in it by the Labour Act, 2003 (Act 651) to finding a lasting solution to this dispute.
- Government (MoE & GES) and the Teacher Unions should devise mechanisms that will in the long-term guarantee a comprehensive resolution of labour disputes with minimal adverse impact on the conduct of teaching and learning in our schools. This will protect the interest of the Ghanaian child who invariable suffers through such actions.
- Government should, as a matter of urgency, demonstrate good faith towards resolving this dispute by living up to any previously agreed terms between it and the two Teacher Unions. Government must avoid aggravating the current situation by refusing to stick to any agreed terms and timelines as both parties seek an amicable settlement.
- We also urge the Teacher Unions and their leadership to take steps to promote and support any processes and measures which will ensure teacher accountability and professional service delivery that justifies the huge investment in the education sector, the bulk of which goes to personnel emoluments.
- At this crucial time which serves as transition period for pupils/students, we urge both Government and Teachers to refrain from using the education of our children as a bargaining chip for settlement of labour dispute. We all owe children a duty of care which is their constitutional right.
In conclusion, GNECC urges all stakeholders, especially the Government, GNAT, NAGRAT and the National Labour Commission to demonstrate commitment and goodwill in the interest of the poor children of Ghana, who through no fault of their own are on the receiving end of this strike action, and thus denied their quest to pursue a legitimate right, THE RIGHT TO QUALITY EDUCATION.
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