NAGRAT swear in new national officers

The Minister for Education, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh says government was working assiduously to pay all outstanding debts owed teachers across the country as the new academic year begins.

It comes on the heels of the Finance Ministry releasing GH¢14,172,313.23 on Thursday to partly settle salary arrears for validated teachers engaged between 2013 and 2016.

Teacher Unions in December warned of series of a nationwide strike this month if government failed to pay outstanding arrears owed members amounting to GH¢50million.

Addressing members of the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) at a swearing-in ceremony in Accra yesterday, the Minister pleaded with the teachers to exercise restraint as government takes steps to resolve the issue.

“The Finance Ministry has already paid the amount into your accounts as we speak and we will plead that you hold on to it as we work to address all of your concerns,” he appealed.

Dr Opoku Prempeh congratulated the new executives and urged them to work in tandem with government to raise the standard of education in the country.

The New President of NAGRAT, Mr Eric Angel Carbonu, served notice that the association will not relent in ‘raising red flags’ over policies and concepts that do not serve the best interest of members or promote quality education in the country.

“For instance, we are deeply concerned with attempts to split the management and administration of teachers in both the basic and secondary level and we call on government to recall the decentralisation bill for more in-depth consultation,” he stressed.

According to him, “it is not every educational practise of Europe and America that will be good and workable in Ghana,” adding that, “sometimes, if we resource and improve upon what we have as a country, we may be the example that others may emulate.”

Touching on salaries owed teachers, Mr Carbonu expressed the need for government to prioritise the issue to move the service forward.

Some of the cost incurred within the service he alleged, was due to “needless transfers which sometimes occur just because some managers use it to settle personal scores and in the end affect negatively the Ghana Education Service (GES) budget.”

He however assured that moving forward, the association would explore more options for amicable settlement of disputes rather than resorting to agitations and conflicts with their ‘employers’.

The NAGRAT President in that spirit, called on members who have hauled the GES before the courts of law to settle scores to retract and channel such grievances to the association for an amicable settlement.

“I will state however to the employer that for this gesture to see the light of day, the GES will also need to soften its stance in some of these cases,” he urged.

Mr Carbonu entreated members to join hands with the new executives to build a more formidable union to achieve higher laurels.

The Immediate Past President of the association, Christian Addai Poku on his part expressed happiness that his tenure saw the resolution of issues surrounding Temporary Pension Fund Account (TPFA) of teachers among other achievements.

He charged the new team to continue to ‘blaze high’ the vision and ideals of NAGRAT to protect the rights of members.

The newly sworn in executives to steer the affairs of the association for the next four years has members including Mr Eric Angel Carbonu as the President, Dr Mrs Harriet Annan as the Publicity and Organising Secretary and Michael Ayuraboya as the Deputy General Secretary.

The event also saw the inauguration of a 10-member governing board of the NAGRAT Fund, chaired by Mr Ernest Amartey-Vondee.

By Abigail Annoh   

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