Lecturers at the Kumasi Technical University have embarked on a sit-down strike, effective Wednesday, to protest the amendment of sections of the 2016 Act that establishes technical universities.
The amendment bill which is currently before Parliament, seeks to grant powers to the National Council for Tertiary Education to perform functions which the lecturers argue fall within the purview of the Governing Councils, the Academic Boards and the Principal Officers of Universities in Ghana.
Chairman of the Kumasi chapter of Technical University Teachers Association of Ghana (TUTAG), Elijah Boadu, described as discriminatory, the unfair treatment to members as compared to traditional university workers.
“Nothing has changed in any of the six polytechnics that have been converted into Technical Universities. Staff are still treated like polytechnic staffs despite the upgrade. We are treated like a second class university”, he fumed.
Mr Boadu says the teachers will not return to the classrooms until the Minister for Education halts illegal directives imposed on the various technical universities by the National Council for Tertiary Education’s (NCTE).
“Government should immediately address our concerns to prevent students from suffering.
“For now we are on a sit down strike but after one week if our case is not heard and solved, we will activate a full scale strike which means we will withdraw all our services”.
Meanwhile, the students fear the strike action by the lecturers will drag their academic calendar back.
They are thus pleading with the government to resolve issues with their lecturers for academic work to progress.
Most of the lecture halls were virtually empty at the time of our visit, and others had been occupied by a few minority students going about their group studies.
Some students were also loitering.
Some students fear the strike may push back the academic calendar if not immediately resolved.
“This strike action is really going to disrupt our academic calendar. We are to write our mid semester exams next week but we don’t know what will really happen if the lecturers continue this strike. It is just fair we are also treated like the traditional universities since we now have university status”.
The Students’ Representative Council of the university at a news conference expressed their displeasure at the strike.
They called on the government to take action to bring their lecturers back to the classroom.
SRC President, Amos Kwarteng said “technical universities ought to be given the necessary autonomy to run just like the traditional universities”.
“The intention behind gradually making the technical university a second class university, if there is such must be reversed immediately”, he warned.
TUTAG is of the view that, the NCTE’s directive on ratification of Harmonized Conditions of Service, which varies from one Technical University to the other, contravenes several sections of the Labour Act 2003, Act 651, which relates to the right of workers to negotiate terms and conditions of employment in Ghana.
The right of staff of technical universities to negotiate the relevant terms and conditions of service will be denied or severely curtailed if the proposed procedure by NCTE prevails, members hinted.
By Ibrahim Abubakar|3news.com|Ghana