STATEMENT BY NAGRAT AT THE LAUNCH OF THE GLOBAL EDUCATION WEEK ON FREE SHS POLICY

STATEMENT BY NAGRAT AT THE LAUNCH OF THE GLOBAL EDUCATION WEEK ON FREE SHS POLICY

According to VVOB “A good quality education is one that provides all learners with capabilities they require to become economically productive, develop sustainable livelihoods, contribute to peaceful and democratic societies and enhance individual well-being”.  If this aim is to be achieved, then it requires equity in education for all.  “The World Declaration on Education for All, adopted in Jomtien, Thailand (1990) and the Dakar Framework for Action (2000) set out an overall vision: universalizing access to education for all children, youth and adults, and promoting equity.

This means being proactive in identifying the barriers that may be encountered in accessing educational opportunities and identifying the resources needed to overcome those barriers. Equity in education is therefore the means to achieving equality. It intends to provide the best opportunities for all students to achieve their full potential and act to address instances of disadvantage which restrict educational achievement.

It is important to note that MDG 2, concentrated on achieving universal primary education for all boys and girls of school going age, but it was silent on free education.  The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 4 on the other hand is to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.  In a way, the SDG number 4 places some emphasis on free education.

It is in line with the Sustainable Development Goals 4 that government is coming out with the free SHS policy. We believe this is to ensure achieving inclusive and quality education for all to reaffirm that education is one of the most powerful and proven vehicles for sustainable development. This goal will ensure that all girls and boys complete free primary and secondary schooling by 2030. It also aims to provide equal access to affordable vocational training, to eliminate gender and wealth disparities, and achieve universal access to a quality higher education.

The free SHS policy is a bold decision government has taken. Its full implementation requires that government bridges the gap between the poor and the rich as far as access to quality education is concern. Government must create the enabling environment by providing the needed infrastructure and facilities to enable the poor especially, to get access to quality education.

If the free SHS policy is to work efficiently, then government has to ensure that every child irrespective of where he/she is, must have access to education.  It is the responsibility of government to ensure that more schools are built for easy access.  In addition, ensure that well trained and qualified teachers are posted to the schools for efficient education delivery.  Not that alone, government must make funds available to the Ghana Education Service and for that matter the Regional and District Directorates of Education as well as the second cycle Institutions to enable them function effectively. Teachers should also be well resourced and motivated for effective teaching and learning delivery. Currently, the delay in releasing feeding grants to schools in the three northern regions should serve as an example to us in trying to implement the free SHS programme.

Furthermore, the schools must be supplied with the needed teaching and learning materials.  Effective and quality education cannot be achieved in a situation where textbooks, chalk or markers, science equipment, etc would not be available for use by teachers and students.

It should be observed from the above that to achieve quality education it requires quality teachers, quality teaching and learning materials, quality environment and above all financing.  Now, how does government source funds to implement the free SHS policy: Government needs to be proactive in its taxation systems.  Government should employ a tax efficient system to generate enough revenue for the purpose.

Government should make sure that all leakages of tax evasion are sealed in order to gain more. According to a research by Action Aid; “It is estimated that the government of Ghana gives away about $1.2 billion every year in harmful tax incentives. This money should properly be collected to form part of the national budget. 20% of this tax incentive granted annually could restore more than 600,000 extra places for children in school or feed 6 million children annually, or yet still employ extra 92,000 teachers”.

The provision of Free SHS is a good policy but its success will require a high level of commitment from all stakeholders in education especially government. It is our expectation that the needed commitment will be demonstrated by all for the benefit of the present generation and posterity.

 

 

April 17, 2017

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UNRESOLVED GRIEVANCES OF THE STAFF OF THE GHANA EDUCATION SERVICE

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF GRADUATE TEACHERS (NAGRAT) - GHANA National Secretariat P. O. Box NM 329 Accra –Ghana 4th July, 2014

Tel:  233-0302-403454

www.nagrat.org E-mail:info@nagrat.org   THE CHAIRMAN NATIONAL LABOUR COMMISSION PRIVATE MAIL BAG ACCRA       THE CHAIRMAN GHANA EDUCATION SERVICE COUNCIL P. O. BOX M 45 ACCRA     Dear Sir,

 UNRESOLVED GRIEVANCES OF THE STAFF OF THE GHANA EDUCATION SERVICE

We write to complain about the way and manner government and the Ghana Education Service management have handled grievances of the staff of the service. From 2010 to date, the unions of the Ghana Education Service have raised concerns on grievances that have been left unresolved by the Ministry of Education, the Ghana Education Service, the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission and for that matter government. These grievances have been the major reasons behind various strikes, demonstration; and petitions, and yet their redress remains far from sight. Sir, you would recall that in May 2014 the grievances listed below caused the National Association of Graduate Teachers to serve notice of its intention of industrial action on the National Labour Commission and the subsequent declaration of industrial action. They are:
  1. Second Tier Pension Scheme
  2. Payment of Outstanding Incremental Credits for 2011 and 2012
  3. Non-payment of Transfer Grants and T&T Allowances to Teachers Transferred from 2010 to date
  4. Three (3) Months Pay Policy on Newly Recruited Staff, Promotions and Re-engagement
  5. Revision of WAEC Invigilation Allowances.
Consequent upon that industrial action, a meeting was convened between the government team and the Teacher Unions on 15th May, 2014 to resolve the issues relating to teachers of the Ghana Education Service. At the meeting various agreements were reached on the issues and a Communiqué signed. (Vide copy for your study and use). We wish to bring to your notice that government and the GES management have failed to adhere to the tenets of the Communiqué they signed. A case in point is that on the payments of not more than three (3) months’ salary arrears. The agreement is that District Directors of education would submit completed templates for payment of the remaining arrears to Regional Directors latest by 16th May, 2014 and that payment are expected by the end of June 2014. Sir, we are now in July and most of the templates are still at the District Directorates. Payments for those that have been submitted to headquarters have not been made. On transfer grants, the Communiqué mandated District Directors to collate data on qualified beneficiaries by end of May 2014. Stakeholders were to be invited upon receipt of the data for a verification and validation exercise for payments to be effected. We have moved through June to July, 2014 yet the Stakeholders’ meeting has not been convened. Needless to say, the verifications and validation exercise has not taken place and a date for payment not known. Closely linked to the payment of transfer grant is the staff deployment and rationalization exercise. Government and the GES management agreed to suspend the exercise and source funding for the payment of transfer grants and T&T of teachers transferred since 2010. As of now the outstanding grants and allowance have not been paid yet teachers are being transferred under the exercise Collection of data on teachers who were transferred has been done for the group of 2014 to the neglect of all those transferred from 2010 to 2013. On the strength of that Communiqué and the genuine desire to create the congenial climate for further negotiations, NAGRAT called off its strike on 21st May, 2014. On the same day, the National Labour Commission (NLC) invited the parties to a meeting aimed at resolving the grievances. It is pertinent to point out that while NAGRAT and the FWSC attended the meeting other parties namely the Ministry of Education, the Ghana Education Service, the Ministry of Finance, and the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations failed to honour the invitation. The NLC scheduled another meeting for 18th June, 2014. The National Labour Commission notwithstanding issued some directive to be responded to by 11th June, 2014 prior to the meeting of 18th June, 2014. (Please find copy attached) Sir, it is interesting to note that the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service which had invited NAGRAT to a meeting on that day postponed the meeting indefinitely when NAGRAT called off the strike. That meeting has not been reconvened to date. This is a clear indication of the lack of commitment of government and the GES management to resolving the grievances of the Ghana Education Service Staff. When National Officers of NAGRAT reported at the premises of the National Labour Commission on 18th June, 2014, they were told that the meeting had been postponed indefinitely. It is almost three (3) weeks now and the National Labour Commission has left the issues hanging without any communication with the leadership of the Association. Sir, teachers are getting increasingly convinced that their grievances are systematically trivialized. We want to state emphatically that should any unpleasant outcome occur, teachers will take no share of blame. Their patience has been stretched to the limit and the disquiet is becoming alarming.   Yours faithfully,     Stanislaus P. Nabome General Secretary Cc:
  1. The Honourable Minister,
Ministry of Education Accra
  1. The Honourable Minister
Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations Accra
  1. The Honourable Minster,
Ministry of Finance Accra
  1. The Chief Executive
Fair Wages and Salaries Commission Accra
  1. The Director General
Ghana Education Service Accra
  1. The General Secretary
Ghana National Association of Teachers Accra
  1. The General Secretary
Teacher and Educational Workers Union Accra
  1. The President
Coalition of Concerned Teachers Accra
  1. All Regional Chairmen,
NAGRAT Regional Secretariat