Thursday, 24 September

Pre-tertiary bill "meant to put teaching in disarray" – Teacher unions

Parliament of Ghana

Four teacher unions have described the pre-tertiary education bill currently before parliament as one meant to put the profession in “disarray” and has called on the lawmaking chamber to suspend any further deliberation on it.

According to the Ghana National Association of Teachers, National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), Teachers and Technical Educational Workers Union (TEWU), and the Coalition of Concerned Teachers Ghana (CCT-Ghana), the deliberations by Parliament must cease until all outstanding issues are resolved with the Ministry of Education.

The Bill places senior high schools under the control of the Regional Coordinating Councils. Basic schools are to be managed by their metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies.

Technical and vocational institutions will be managed by their own Director-General independent of the GES but the unions emphasise that the arrangement will strip the GES of its powers and reduce it to just being a coordinator and destabilise the teaching profession.

The President of NAGRAT, Mr Angel Cabonu told journalists at a press conference in Accra on Friday, 14 February 2020 that: “Primary, JSS are going to be under the district assemblies and their employers are going to be the various separate district assemblies that we have in this country and then teachers in the senior high schools will be managed by the Regional Coordinating Councils. What it means is that teachers in this country have been divided into two: those who are managed by the Regional Coordinating Councils and those who are going to be managed by the various 272 assemblies.

“These teachers are supposed to negotiate conditions of service separately with the various district assemblies, those at the basic levels. So, we’re going to have 272 separate conditions of service negotiated by teachers who are employed by the various assemblies and then those who are senior high schools are going to negotiate their conditions of service with the Regional Coordinating Councils. What it means is that the profession, the unified profession has been put in disarray. What it also means is that the teacher should select which area you want to teach; do you want to teach in a senior high school, or you want to teach in a district school.”

The teacher unions described the bill as one meant to make the profession unattractive and keep the teaching profession in the doldrums.

“Appointment to office as regional director of education will done by the president not necessarily career progression and we see that this bill has been crafted in such a manner to ensure that the teacher is kept at the doldrums of the profession and this will not be attractive for anybody to want to be in the teaching profession let alone stay in the teaching profession,” Mr Cabonu added.