The attention of the Ministry of Education has been drawn to a news item carried by www.citinewsroom, in which former President John Mahama is said to have criticized government for allegedly gagging teachers. This is said to be at a meeting yesterday with the leadership of the National Association of Graduate teachers (NAGRAT).
Unfortunately, as it usually the case with educational matters, the former president’s allegations are devoid of facts.
In all its reforms since taking office, this government has been particular about engaging all its stakeholders, including the various teacher unions. Indeed, teacher unions will testify that, the sector Minister, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh operates an open door policy and that they need no appointment to visit and engage him on any issue relating to education.
It is worthy to note that the former President’s record in office in the education sector is the worst since independence, to put it mildly. His government has been the most teacher-unfriendly. Issues detrimental to the teacher perpetrated by his government include;
1. Cancellation of teacher trainee allowances
2. Failure to employ a single graduate teacher throughout his tenure
3. Salary legacy arrears in respect of payments to teachers, in pursuing their three-month pay policy.
4. Non-payment of tier 2 pension funds for teachers
5. A three-year backlog of non-promotion of teachers
6. Non-negotiation for four years for enhanced conditions of service for teachers.
7. No policy targeted at teachers
This government, on the other hand, has a record it can be proud of with respect to our hardworking teachers. These include;
1. Restoration of teacher trainee allowances
2. Upgrading of Diploma awards by Colleges of Education to Degree awarding institutions.
3. Payment of GHC 70 to each teacher as motivation under the Free SHS policy
4. Clearing of legacy debts accrued by Mr. Mahama’s government
5. Abolition of three-month pay policy and prompt payment of teachers after recruitment
6. Out of turn promotion for teachers who upgrade to Masters level.
7. Development with partners (UNESCO, Norway) and unions a comprehensive teacher policy
8. Engaging unions on conditions of service, which the previous government never did.
It is worthy of note that in the pursuit of their teacher-unfriendly policies, unions did not indulge in strike actions against the Mahama government. Why, was this because he was gagging teachers and teacher unions?
The government that is paying his legacy arrears, of which over 97% has been paid, is rather on the receiving end of strike actions. Certainly this is not a sign of gagging.
It beggars belief that Mr. Mahama would proffer views and launch unfounded criticisms on this government, which is doing its best for the teaching profession. He has absolutely no moral right to do so.
The former President is advised to desist from seeking to poison the relationship between the Ministry and the teaching profession for purposes of cheap political expediency.
Director of Communications
Ekow Vincent Assafuah