The National Association of Teachers (NAGRAT) has raised concerns about challenges currently being faced by first and second cycle institutions in the country.
At a media briefing in Accra yesterday, Eric Angel Carbonu, NAGRAT president, highlighted some of the challenges as the interference in the professional structure and the appointment of the heads of institution in the Ghana Education service (GES), wanton removal of teachers’ ‘names from the payroll and stressful situations in pre-tertiary schools.
Other challenges he also mentioned were situations at the Senior High Schools which were adversely affecting teaching and learning delivery and mode of lesson notes preparation, adding thatNAGRAT would want to get response from both the GES and the Ministry of Education in two weeks before advising themselves on the way forward.
Touching on the interference in the professional structure and the appointment of Heads for the newly completed Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) schools through advertisement, he said the impression being created was as if the STEM schools were different from Senior High Schools.
“This is very wrong because the knowledge we have as a union is thatthe STEM schools are SHS with emphasis on the teaching of science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” he said.
Mr Carbonu said that though a school may be referred to as a STEM school, students would still study other subjects to qualify them for tertiary institutions, adding that it was therefore wrong for the ministry to attempt to appoint Heads of STEM schools outside the procedure of appointment established by the Ghana Education Service.
He said if the situation was allowed to prevail, it would become the beginning of discrimination established by the state among SHS, adding that it was high time the minister of education stopped the appointment of any pre-tertiary school personnel directly from the ministry and allow the procedure of appointment of pre-tertiary school Heads to be done by the management of GES.
Mr Carbonu also said it has become clear that officials of the GES at various levels were taking advantage of their positions to cause the deletion of teachers’ salaries from the payroll, adding that the deletion was being effected by Regional Directors, District Directors, Circuit Supervisors, and Head of Schools.
He said the unacceptable acts of denying the teacher his or her salary was done with the flimsiest of excuse and without recourse to higher authority, saying, “whereas it is easy to delete the salary of the teacher, it becomes difficult and near impossible to restore it even when the reason for deletion is rectified”.
Mr Carbonu said the leadership of NAGRAT was calling for the immediate restoration of all salaries deleted by officers of GES that have not been sanction by the Director General, adding that failure to effect the restoration of the payroll would result in NAGRAT advising themselves over the issue.
The NAGRAT president also observed that with the advent of the free SHS policy, there was the unfortunate shift of attention from the basic schools (kindergarten to JHS) such that they were now challenged with lack of primary teaching and learning materials such as text books, chalks, among many others while the payment of capitation grant were in arrears for two terms.
He said the delay in payment of the grantwhich has not been increased to reflect current economic trends have left the infrastructures of Basic Schools in constant deplorable state, adding it was high time the government re-directed its attention to the Basic Schools nationwide and provided needed resources for effective teaching and learning to take place.
Mr Carbonu said the situation in the SHS was not significantly better since adequate resources needed by the Schools were not supplied on time, creating challenging situations for the Heads, saying, “a crucial look into our schools today shows a high level of general deterioration of schools’ infrastructures”.
He also called for the mode of lesson notes preparations to shift from manual preparation to technology-based preparation where teachers would be given the opportunity to use the computer to effect their lesson notes preparation.
Mr Carbonu asked their members nationwide who have the knowledge and application of internet technology to prepare their lesson notes with the use of technology, adding that the union would resist anyone who attempts to put obstacles in the way of any NAGRAT member who would decide to prepare his or her lesson notes with the use of technology.
BY LAWRENCE MARKWEI & SAMUEL GYASI ODURO