Teachers have urgent issues that warrant strike, not appointment of GES Boss – ATAG tells GNAT, NAGRAT

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The All Teachers Alliance Ghana (ATAG) has told the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) and other teacher unions that have rejected the appointment of a new Director General of the Ghana Education Service (GES), Dr Eric Nkansah that, teachers in Ghana have more important needs that should be solved, not the appointment of a new GES boss.

ATAG has rejected the position taken by GNAT and NAGRAT on the appointment of Dr Nkansah.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo  appointed Dr Nkansah as the new Director-General of the GES to replace Professor Kwasi Opoku-Amankwah. The appointment took effect on Wednesday October 19, 2022.

“I take this opportunity to congratulate you formally on your appointment. Kindly indicate your acceptance or otherwise of this appointment within 14 days of receipt of this letter, ” a statement signed by the Executive Secretary to the President, Nana Bediatuo Asante said.

But NAGRAT, GNAT and CCT rejected the appointment.

The associations said the new appointee is a banker who has no background in teaching. Therefore, they are unhappy with his appointment.

Addressing a press conference in Accra on Thursday October 20, President of NAGRAT, Mr Angel Carbonou said teachers were hoping that a person who has background in education would be appointed in order to bring his or her expertise to bear.

This appointment is an indication that there are no qualified teaching professionals to man education in Ghana, he said.

Mr Carbonou indicated that they are annoyed and surprised by the appointment of Dr Nkansah.

He said “What annoyed and surprised all of us was that a new Director General has been appointed to the Ghana Education Service.

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“The authority to appoint Director General of GES is the President of the land. Unfortunately, contrary to what the teacher unions indicated that, we will want a Director General who is a professional teacher, who has passed through the mill, who can bring his knowkdge, skills and influence to bear on the activities of teachers and non-teachers in the GES.

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“Contrary to that, the gentlemen who was appointed yesterday is not a teacher, he is banking officer, who was a special assistant in the office of the Minister and has been appointed as the DG of the GES. We are not happy with this development, it is as of we don’t have professionals and well educated people who have gone through the mill in education in this country to run education.”

But a statement issued by All Teachers Alliance Ghana (ATAG) signed by its General Secretary Albert Amoah Dadson said “After going on strike due to the high cost of living, teacher unions negotiated for a 15% COLA. Before the demand, the teaching community was dealing with several concerns that required equal attention. However, the unions choose to focus their justification for COLA on the high cost of living.

“The profession is still plagued by problems with promotions and transfers, and it doesn’t appear that the teacher unions have made any desperate attempts to guarantee that these problems are remedied. Far from it; after negotiating substandard laptops for teachers, GNAT, NAGRAT, and CCT’s credibility is now in question. They were able to successfully deduct teachers’ salaries, but they were unable to guarantee that all teachers received the laptops in the same manner.

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“While unions are supposed to represent teachers and act in their best interests, they are presently occupied with opposing the choice of a new director general. The justification they have provided for opposing the appointment is perplexing. Surprisingly, they keep threatening the president with threat after threat, stating, among other things, that teachers must be represented by educators rather than ‘a banker.’ NAGRAT even asserts that the appointment is against the terms of the collective bargaining agreement for teachers. At their most recent conference, GNAT also made a similar vow to vehemently oppose the appointment.

“One may question how much effort these unions (GNAT, NAGRAT, and CCT) are exerting to prevent an appointment over which they have no control. The only thing these unions can do to help teachers in Ghana is to oppose the appointment of a new DG although there are other urgent concerns facing them. Ironically, the unions are unable to strike over the backlog of promotions at the headquarters that have been pending since 2016 or the delay in laptop distribution.

“This demonstrates unequivocally where teacher union interests lay. If teacher unions are truly concerned about the predicament of teachers, we do not believe it is appropriate for them to call for a strike in protest of an appointment when they claim the new DG does not even merit that gesture.

“Since GNAT, NAGRAT, and CCT are solely interested in fighting a course that no one has ordered them to fight, teachers must be aware of the truth and be cautious of them. In any scenario, teacher unions should file a lawsuit if they believe the new DG was chosen improperly. What, once more, prevented the teacher unions from meeting with the president or the minister of education to express their dissatisfaction and request for a change? Instead, they opted to issue needless threats in public.

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Teachers need to be aware of the following: (A) The DG is chosen politically. No teacher or GES employee automatically holds the position of Director General.
(b) The administrative nature of the Director General’s position means that it can be filled by the most seasoned administrator from a variety of backgrounds.
(c) The DG works collaboratively. He is supported in his duties at the Headquarters by three other sub-directors.
(d) A mistaken impression that the new DG is only a banker is also present. That is untrue. The new DG had previously taught in tertiary and SHS settings. Additionally, he has done a lot of work for the Ministry of Education.

“We implore teachers to hold union officials accountable for better working conditions. Teachers must refuse any UNPRODUCTIVE CALL FOR STRIKE that serves the interests of a select group of privileged national officers of GNAT, NAGRAT, and CCT. No one has asked them to oppose a political appointment; it is their interest and vindictiveness.”

By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana