NAGRAT distances itself from All Teachers Alliance over One Teacher, One Laptop deductions

President of the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), Mr  Angel Carbonu, has said they do not know the All Teachers Alliance, the group that is opposing the contract signed for One Teacher, One Laptop initiative.

The All Teachers Alliance had said it had come to their attention that despite court action they instituted, teachers’ money had been deducted without recourse to court proceedings for the One Teacher One Laptop initiative.

This, they said, came at a shock to them since the original hearing of the interlocutory injunction filed on the 10th of November, 2021 on the stay of distribution and deduction had been rescheduled for hearing on the 14th December, 2021.

“Many teachers are not happy about this development and have raised genuine concerns about the manner in which GES has authorized the deduction of the laptops’ fee from their November professional development allowance.

“What’s more worrying is that, the majority of teachers especially basic school teachers are yet to receive the laptops. The question now beckons how teachers could be deducted before providing them with laptops?” a statement they issued said.

They have therefore served notice to demonstrate against the Ghana Education Service (GES) following the deductions.

The protest is scheduled to take place on December 15.

But speaking at a press conference in Accra on Tuesday December 7, Mr Angel Carbonu said “The interesting thing is that we don’t  really know them, we don’t know what is motivating those group of people and we don’t know the details of  the suit that  they have sent to court  so it will be very difficult to comment on that.

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“Whoever they are in tango with, I am very sure that they will be able to get explanations from whoever, or the court will decide  as to the legitimacy  of the case that they have sent to court.”

The President of the National Association of Teachers (GNAT), Philippa Larsen, for her part, asked the government to supply the rest of the laptops for which monies have been deducted, to teachers before the end of Friday, December 31, 2021.

“On 11 February 2021 a laptop computer pre-financing agreement was entered into between the GES, acting on behalf of the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service Occupational Pensions Scheme  (GESOPS). We wish to state that that per the pre-financing agreement between the GES  and GESOPS,  the cost per teacher  is GHS549.44 pesewas. As a result of the 18.16 per cent interest rate  on the 465 cedis.

“The price further reduced to GHS509 due to the intervention of the unions and the minster of education  who indicated that the 18.16  per cent cannot be charged on the  entire 30 per cent  portion of the teacher,” she said.

She added “Leadership is asking the government through the Ministry of Education to absorb the interest charges on the 30 per cent that had accrued from pre-financing.

“We again demand from  the GES to ensure  that by the close of Friday  31sy December  2021,  all teachers deducted  monies for the  laptops  would be supplied  the said laptops.”

The One Teacher One Laptop initiate was launched by Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia.

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During the launch, he handed over 350,000 laptops in fulfilment of government’s pledge to equip Ghana’s teachers with the requisite ICT skills to prepare the next generation for the Fourth Industrial revolution.

At a brief but colourful ceremony at the campus of the St Mary’s Senior High School, Accra on Friday 3rd September, 2021 Dr Bawumia, assisted by the Minister for Education, Hon Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum; the Director General of the Ghana Education Service, Prof Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa; and the leadership of Teacher Unions, handed over the first of these laptops, known as the TM1 (Teachers Mate 1) to the 71 teachers of the school.

“Effective teaching and learning is critical to developing the human capacity for work, innovation and creativity; necessary ingredients for capacity building. Teachers are the indispensable pillars to this necessary capacity building. This initiative, in collaboration with the Teacher Unions, is to support the vision of the Ghana Education Service of creating an enabling environment to facilitate effective teaching and learning” Dr Bawumia stated.

Under the initiative, Government is to provide every teacher in Ghana, from Kindergarten to the Senior High School level, with a laptop preloaded with educational materials and with access to an E-Library equipped with books recommended by the GES on the various subjects.

The materials can be accessed whether online or offline, and with free Wi-Fi available in 722 Senior High Schools across the country, access to the almost innumerable resources available on the internet is expected to aid research, teaching and learning.

The State takes up 70% of the cost of the laptop, while the teacher makes up the difference. The laptop, however, becomes the personal property of the teacher and serves the benefit of providing a tool for developing the teacher’s professional and personal capacity.

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This shift to ICT-based teaching and learning has many benefits for both teachers and students, according to experts in education. With the curriculum materials already installed onto the laptops, the suggested lesson notes prepared by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NaCCA) can be downloaded onto the laptops and used to end the burdensome task of writing lesson notes into notebooks.

This would perfectly be in tandem with the fifth skill and competence under the new standards-based curriculum, the promotion of digital literacy.

The laptops would also help in the field of assessment. The filling of School-Based Assessment, report cards, cumulative records, and the building of learners’ individual portfolios would become easier if each teacher owns a laptop.

By Laud Nartey||Ghana