At its 11th National Delegates Conference held from 2nd to 5th September 2015 in Bolgatanga in the Upper-East Region of Ghana , under the theme “Protecting the Integrity of Examinations; If Not Us, Then Who?,” the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) Ghana decided and wishes to communicate to the government and people of Ghana as follows
- PROTECTING THE INTEGRITY OF EXAMINATIONS IN GHANA
Conference noted with grave concern that the frequent leakages of examination questions place the sanctity and integrity of examinations conducted by the West Africa Examination Council (WAEC) in Ghana in serious doubt. Conference observed that the growing trend is an indictment on the validity and reliability of examination results and called to question if the results are still the best instrument for placement of candidates in Ghana. Conference called for collective, concerted and decisive efforts from WAEC, the Ministry of Education, the Ghana Education Service (GES) Teacher Unions, parents, students, civil society organizations and indeed all stakeholders in education to put an end to the growing canker in our society
- TEACHER EDUCATION IN GHANA
Conference was emphatic that the quality of teachers is the major determining factor of the quality of education in Ghana and the outcomes thereof. The National Association of Graduate Teachers was completely convinced that the withdrawal of Teacher Trainee allowance is an evidence of austerity and that austerity in education and austerity in any form is counter to quality education and human development.
Conference called on government to rise up to its mandate of providing sound, relevant quality education to all its citizens with Teacher Education as starting point. It is the belief of Conference that the Teacher Trainee allowance should be restored by government to create the congenial environment for the training of teachers in Ghana.
- PENSIONS IN GHANA
The 11th National Delegates Conference of the National Association of Graduate Teachers thoroughly discussed Pensions in Ghana and was compelled to conclude that the government of Ghana has greater considerationsthan the welfare of workers under the Pensions Act and that such considerations account for the lack of commitment of government to operationalise the various Schemes under the Act. Conference is of the firm belief that the indecent rush of government to court to restrain the workers of Ghana from demanding that the various registered Pension Scheme under the Act be allowed to operate and that all attempts at imposing Pensions Alliance Trust on all public sector workers in Ghana are acts in desperation aimed at diverting the contributions of workers towards their pensions to budgetary support accounts for government. Conference was unequivocal in its demand that the pension contributions of workers should be remitted to the appropriate Fund Managers.
- PRIVATIZATION AND COMMERCIALIZATION OF EDUCATION IN GHANA
Conference noted the rapid expansion in private schools in Ghana and the desire of their proprietors and financiers to use them as edu-business with the objective of making profits. The National Association of Graduate Teachers wishes to put it on record that it is not in any way against the establishment of private schools per se but that it is against all attempts to use them for exploitation of the people of Ghana and the enrichment of their owners and partners. Conference wishes to affirm that education is a public good and that all citizens have the right to pursue it irrespective of their social or economic positions. Conference wishes to further affirm that education is a fundamental human right that cannot be put on sale.
Conference insists that it is the responsibility of the state to educate its citizen and demands that government spends more on public education to make public schools compete and outperform their private counterparts. NAGRAT wishes that government enacts laws that will regulate the operations of and standards in private education institutions especially at the basic level. Conference further demands that all existing laws governing the activities of private schools are fully enforced to make private schools less desirable as sources of profits to players in them.
- VOCATIONAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING
The National Association of Graduate Teachers acknowledges the important role of Vocational Education and Training (VET) in nation-building. It further observed that VET have not been given the same attention as other forms of education and training in Ghana. Conference is convinced that the lip-services rendered to VET has contribute in no small way to the unemployment situation and slow pace of economic growth and development of the nation.
NAGRAT through Conference calls on the Ministry of Education, the Ghana Education Service, government and all stakeholders in education to allocate more resources to VET as a way of stimulating economic growth and development and as a means of enabling children with vocational and technical talents to realize their full potential
- FREE SECONDARY EDUCATION POLICY IN GHANA
Conference welcomes the Free Secondary Education Policy in Ghana but is quick to point out that the policy should not be allowed to suffer the fate of other educational policies launched with pump and pageantry only to be abandoned midstreams. Conference wishes to caution that the policy should not be implemented until adequate preparations in terms of infrastructure, human and financial resources have been mobilized for its success. Conference is certain that when the policy takes off enrolment in Secondary Schools will increase significantly and so will the work load on teachers. Government must provide the needed infrastructure so as to avoid overcrowded classrooms, train sufficient teachers to occupy the classrooms and prepare the appropriate pay envelopes for the teachers to ensure the desired outcomes
- OUTSTANDING CONCERNS OF THE ASSOCIATION
NAGRAT was very much disturbed that concerns it raised during its 10th National Delegates Conference in2013 and which were communicated to the employer were completely ignored. It recalled its concerns as:
- Poor handling of the Tier Pension Scheme for its members
- Failure of government to pay annual incremental credits to teachers since 2011
- Non-payment of transfer grants and travel and transport allowances to deserving teachers
- Failure of government to clear all salary arrears owed teachers among others.
Conference reaffirmed the mandate it ceded to National Officers and the National Executive Committee to vigorously pursue the matter using all justifiable means to compel government to live up to its responsibilities of resolving all the outstanding concerns without further delay. Conference wishes government to know that it cannot renege on these responsibilities and continue to insist that teachers remain quiet and docile. It therefore calls on government to clear its tray of addressing the concerns of the Association that have been placed before it for close to three (3) years.
The 11th National Delegates Conference expects that government, the Ministry of Education, the Ghana Education Service and all other stakeholders in education will take this Communiqué seriously and act with dispatch on the issues raised to avoid any form of confrontation with the National Association of Graduate Teachers and for that matter teacher in Ghana. We therefore demand that all outstanding concerns of the Association raised in this communiqué are addressed on or before 30th September 2015
Issued 4th September 2015
Stanislaus P. Nabome