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PRESS CONFERENCE ON LICENSING OF TEACHER IN THE GHANA EDUCATION SERVICE

PRESS CONFERENCE ON LICENSING OF TEACHER IN THE GHANA EDUCATION SERVICE

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press, we welcome you to our Press Conference this morning. It has been a while since our last Press Conference. This is not occasioned by the absence of issues and concerns. Indeed there have been issues but fortunately we were able to handle them somehow without resorting to the Press. Today however, an issue has come to the fore and everyone is either asking questions or proffering explanation and justification.

This issue concerns the licensing of teachers in the Ghana Education Service (GES). We are grateful and extend to you our profound appreciation for your prompt response to our invitation to this Press Conference in spite of the short notice. This Press Conference is intended to cover the following:

 

THE LEGAL BASES FOR LICENSING OF TEACHERS

The Policy of licensing teachers stem from the Education Act 2008 (Act 778). Provided for in this Act is the establishment of a National Teaching Council with the function of licensing and registration of teachers among others. It is therefore established that the licensing and registration of teachers have legal backing. Bearing this in mind, the question of whether NAGRAT accepts the Policy of Teacher Licensing and Registration becomes irrelevant since the Association is law-abiding. For the sake of clarity let me state that NAGRAT is neither resisting licensing and registration of teachers nor questioning the mandate of the National Teaching Council to do so. The above notwithstanding, we have issues with the procedure for implementation of the Policy.

 

STAKEHOLDER CONSULTATION

Ladies and Gentlemen, the law prescribes that teachers should be registered and licensed but does not prescribe how. Permit me to ask a few seemingly naïve questions. Are teachers going to be registered and licensed through an inspection of their certificates and or work? Will they be registered by oral examinations (interviews)? Will the licensing and registration be preceded by written examinations? What will be the syllabus for such assessment?

The law cannot spell out these gray areas together with many other issues worth consideration. The questions above are indicative of the need for broad consultations with all stakeholders before any attempt at implementing the Policy is embarked upon. Regrettably, we in NAGRAT cannot say that we have enjoyed sufficient consultation on the implementation process so as to feel part of it and to assure ourselves that the procedure for implementation will not short-changes us. It is true that there has been some sort of consultation but at such consultative encounters, we have raised concerns that have not been addressed yet some hyper-active players are all over the media landscapes pontificating the implementation process with timelines. Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press, we are the people who will go through the examination in whatever form it may come; we are the people to be licensed or denied license; we are the users of that holy license. Should we not get our concerns addressed first? Quality education delivery is team-work so it becomes very surprising when some players arrogate every decision-making and activity in the education industry to themselves with impunity and turn around in mock surprise that we are asking questions. How can anybody think that the mere issuance of a license is enough to bring about effective teaching and learning? Have we forgotten the wise saying that garment alone do not make a monarch? Please, let us make haste slowly.

 

PROCEDURE FOR LICENSING

The National Teaching Council has developed procedures for licensing and registration of teachers. Going by one procedure, a Teacher Trainee passes an examination conducted by the College of Education. Then the prospective teacher applies to take the licensing examination. Upon passing the licensing examination, the trainee is given a registration number and a provisional license. The trainee then applies to the GES to get posted. After posting, the trainee completes an induction and receives the full license.

Following a second procedure, the trainee passes the examination from the College of Education and NTC gives out a registration number and provisional license. The trainee then applies to GES for posting and gets posted. The trainee completes induction and receives the full license or passes NTC examination. These procedures are not the same. Which of them is the Teaching Council using? The National Teaching Council has to come clear on this.

The National Teaching Council has been a major contributor to the development of the National Teachers Standards and the National Teacher Education Curriculum Framework. These documents are used in the Colleges of Education for the training of Pre-service Teachers. A Teacher Trainee passes exams at the College of Education based on these documents. The same trainee takes the Licensure examination which is also based on the same National Teachers Standard and National Teacher Education Curriculum Framework. It appears that we would be organizing an exercise of duplication of efforts. What would be wrong with making the licensure exam a paper at the final examination of final year Teacher Trainees at the College of Education?

Again it is pertinent to ask if passing the licensure examination guarantees that the teacher will be appointed and posted by the Ghana Education Service. Is it not conceivable that a pre-service teacher could be made to pay for the licensure examination and receives registration and the provisional license only to fail to secure appointment from the Ghana Education Service? Should that occur, would the Teacher Trainee not be better off without paying money to write the licensure examination? Once more, it is necessary to smoothen all these rough edges before the registration and licensing begin.

 

CONCERNS OF NAGRAT

Ladies and Gentlemen, the main requirements for issuance and renewal of licenses are capacity building workshops, in-service training and Continuous Professional Development. NAGRAT is gravely concerned as to how many of these workshops and training activities a teacher will require to have his/her license renewed. Again there the question of how much the training workshops will cost and who bears the cost. These questions have been asked by the Teacher Unions and have been left hanging. If the cost associated with the operation of a policy is left unaddressed, how can one expect those who may have to pay it to embrace the policy? The National Teaching Council will do itself a lot of good if it comes out clear on the cost involved and those responsible for its payment.

Another concern of teachers is the relationship between licensing and registration and job security for teachers. The continuous stay of teachers in the classroom depends on their ability to renew their license every now and then. The renewal of the license also depends on passing various tests including ability to stay clear from disciplinary issues. An allegation leveled a teacher is sufficient to deny him/her renewal of license. That also implies termination of appointments. Invariable, there is loss of job security and teachers will be prone to undue victimization.

August 16, 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