Teachers alarmed by terms of ‘One-Teacher-One-Laptop’ project

Some teachers belonging to the various teacher unions in the country have raised concerns about the government’s initiative to roll out the one-teacher-one-laptop project after the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) released a communiqué on the whole arrangement and the terms of payment.

The teachers say leaders of NAGRAT and two other unions have tied them to a hire purchase agreement without their inputs.

Teachers belonging to the Innovative Teachers and All Teachers Alliance Ghana (ATAG) in particular have expressed disdain at the government’s decision to procure what they call “sub-standard laptops” for them without consulting them to ascertain if they needed such laptops, their specifications and even the kind of brand.

The disgruntled teachers say they could have done a better job at acquiring better laptops for themselves with the amount government is purportedly paying for laptop computers they describe as “sub-standard”, “junk” and “irreparable”.

The disgruntled teachers’ harangue comes on the back of the communiqué circulated to teachers by NAGRAT on Monday, September 6, concerning the payment terms on the part of the teachers which will be deducted from the Professional Development Allowance by the Controller and Accountant General’s office.

According to the communique signed by the President of NAGRAT Angel Agbe-Carbonu and circulated to three teacher unions, thus the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) and the Coalition of Concerned Teachers (CCT-GH) the teachers will pay for 30% of the total cost whilst government foots the 70% bill.

“Government will facilitate the acquisition of the laptops, GES will ensure the effective distribution of the laptops and that there will be cost-sharing as follows: government paying 70%, teachers paying 30%”, the communique pointed out.

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The document went on to point out that “the teacher’s 30% component will not be deducted from the teacher’s salary but through the professional allowance allocations. That the computers provided will be the property of the individual teacher. That the company K.A Technology will provide training and after-sale service to the teachers.

The breakdown of the prices are as follows:

Government – GHC 1,282.03 – 70%

Teacher – GHC 549.44 – 30%

Total 1,831.47 – 100%”.

Reacting to the details of the payment terms for the teachers, founder of the Innovative Teachers Union Stephen Dosu pointed out in an interview with an Accra based radio station when the President of NAGRAT was asked the cost of the laptops as procured by government, “he said he didn’t know and that it was GHȻ500 for the teachers, when he was pressed further for the total cost of the laptops, he said the media men must calculate it themselves and that their mathematics was not good. When he was asked why the union did not negotiate for a better brand, he said it was not his duty to go and negotiate with the government the kind of brand they want to give to teachers”.

He called on all the teachers in the unions to announce to receive the laptops to boycott the deal as it is only intended to “enrich the union leaders and their conniving politicians” in the country.

“We are calling on you guys (teachers) to boycott these laptops, never receive these laptops and nobody will take your money from the professional development allowance because you have not signed any contractual agreement with anybody”, he urged his fellow teachers in an exclusive to 3news.com.

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The Innovative Teachers and the All Teachers Alliance Ghana (ATAG) had earlier in March, petitioned the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to investigate the government and the three teacher unions’ drive to procure laptops for their members.

By Barima Kwabena Yeboah|3news.com|Ghana