Teacher unions in the country have called on parliament to suspend ongoing deliberations on the Pre-Tertiary Education Bill until they resolve outstanding issues with the Ministry of Education (MoE).
They reaffirmed their stance that the bill, when passed in its current form, would result in the “dismemberment, disintegration and destruction of the teaching profession” with riffling effect on the entire education system.
“ We wish to caution that, should our stance be disregarded or ignored, we the pre-tertiary education union would advise ourselves, accordingly,” the General Secretary of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), Thomas Musah said at the press conference in Accra, yesterday.
The unions are GNAT, National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), Teachers and Educational Workers Union (TEWU) and Coalition of Concerned Teachers Ghana (CCT-GH).
According to Mr Musah, per the bill, the proposed structure of the management of education would be such that senior high schools would be run by the Regional Coordinating Councils.
He said basic schools would be run by the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies whereas technical and vocational schools would be under a Director General, independent of the Ghana Education Service (GES).
“By this arrangement, therefore, the Ghana Education Service would be shorn of its powers/mandate, and now become a very feeble coordinator,” he said.
According to Mr Musah, the unions would not accept the bill in its current form on grounds that, it would “destabilise” the teaching profession, given that it would dismember the unified service in place currently.
“It would break the unified conditions of service under which teachers work. It would destroy the organic teaching profession our founding fathers fought for, and attained, even under colonial rule,” he said.
“In the spirit of unity, harmony and organic solidarity, we the pre-tertiary education unions express our abhorrence for the arrangement, and reject it in no uncertain terms. The unified teaching profession is non-negotiable, we repeat, nonnegotiable,” he said.
He recounted that, following the unions’ earlier agitation on the matter, the Parliamentary Select Committee on Education, which is considering the bill, invited them to a meeting on February 4 and 12, 2020, during which they registered their disagreement to the proposed management structure.
“We have been directed by the select committee to sort out our concern with the Ministry of Education, and we are going to do it. Even then, we would do so, not wavering from our stance. We remain committed to our collective and united front, now and in the future,” he said.
Mr Angel Carbonu, NAGRAT President, suggested that instead of the segregation, the GES should be strengthened to offer better pre-tertiary education, adding that, separating the service would not encourage people to accept postings to parts of the country because of the varying conditions of service.
BY JONATHAN DONKOR