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PRESS CONFERENCE ON THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE TEACHER UNIONS AND THE NATIONAL TEACHING COUNCIL (NTC)

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Media, you are warmly welcome to today’s press conference. We the leadership of the Teacher Unions, made of Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) and Coalition of Concerned Teachers (CCT), Ghana, have called you this morning to register our protest against the way and manner in which the National Teaching Council (NTC) is going about the formulation and subsequent implementation of the Pre-Tertiary Teacher Professional Development and Management (PTPDM) Policy. It is our expectation that you would record the issues accurately and disseminate same for all stakeholders in the education landscape.

 

We wish to state that the Teacher Unions in Ghana have cooperated with the NTC and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in the development of the policy document from 2010 to-date. Our protest therefore, is not against the policy but the modus operandi of the National Teaching Council as regards the finalization of the document that would be employed in the operationalization of the policy.

 

To begin with, the NTC scheduled a meeting for validation of the materials for the policy on the 5Th and 6TH October, 2017, knowing fully well that the 5Th of October is World Teachers Day, and that the leadership of the Teacher Unions will have to be at the Best Teacher/School Awards at the National , Regional and District levels. The Teacher Unions requested a change in the date of the meeting and were appreciative that the dates were rescheduled to the 10th and 11th of October, 2017. But as at 4.00 PM on the eve of the program the Teacher Unions had not received all copies of the documents they were enjoined to discuss. This led to the writing of a letter to the Council to make available the materials to the Unions for study with the request that the meeting be rescheduled. Referenced our letter number NGT/NS/NTC/030/17 of 6TH October, 2017.

 

 

Upon receipt of the request for postponement of the meeting, the NTC sent a soft copy of one document to the Teacher Unions with a denial of the request for postponement of the meeting. To add insult to injury, the Executive Secretary of the NTC, stated in her letter that the Teacher Unions should use Monday 9th October, 2017 to study the document and join the meeting on its departure date, Tuesday the 10Th of October, 2017 as per the NTC’s letter, referenced number NTC/INSERT/665/263. Subsequently, on Sunday, 8th October, 2017 when the Teacher Unions should have been reporting to the Eastern Region, for the workshop, the NTC sent the remaining three documents in soft copies at 3.40 PM. It is pertinent to point out that the documents were made-up of 136 pages, thus making it impossible to go through them. These  posture and actions of NTC’s Executive Secretary speaks volumes about how she values the concerns of the Teacher Unions.

 

Following the gross disrespect for the Teacher Unions a protest was made to the Minister for Education. The Minister requested that the Teacher Unions submit their position for the NTC to study. This was complied with by the Teacher Unions. At the meeting, the NTC indicated that JICA’s involvement with the project would end in March, 2018 hence the need to speed up the finalization of the policy document.

 

However, the Minister of Education issued the following orders;

 

  • That all existing documents on the PTPDM be given to the Teacher Unions, which was complied with.
  • That NTC engages the Teacher Unions and take their concerns on board. This has not been done
  • That the JICA team goes ahead to rap- up its engagement in March, 2018 and submit its Report
  • That the Teacher Unions, NTC and GES discuss the Report and adopt it. This has also not been done.

 

The above directives were reiterated by the Deputy Director-General, of the GES, Mr. Anthony Boateng at the exit meeting of the JICA team on the 28th of February, 2018 at M-PLAZA Hotel.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Media, we wish to state that the second and fourth directives have not been complied with. We are therefore surprised at an invitation from the NTC to come and discuss aspects of teacher registration and licensing when we have not even seen the Report. The indecent haste of the NTC to roll-out the Policy without addressing the concerns of teachers is a recipe for disaster.

It is therefore pertinent to note that the NTC and its Executive Secretary treated the Teacher Unions with complete disregard and intends to carry out the policy in the form it deems fit come what may. We will therefore not be part of a one-side Policy that does not reflect the concerns of major stakeholders and will accordingly advise ourselves.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Media, it is factual that the NTC is the body mandated to roll out the policy. We accord it that mandate. We are however disturbed that the council, in its

determination to carry out this mandate, arrogates to itself unquestionable powers to do it alone and in its own style without regards to the input of other important stakeholders as Teacher Unions. If all stakeholders are to own the Policy and participate actively in the writing of its success story, this posture of the NTC needs critical surgery.

 

We have already proposed inputs aimed at improving upon the outcomes of the Policy in the Position Paper we submitted to the NTC, GES, and the MOE. Most unfortunately, our inputs have been treated with contempt, giving them a semblance of banality and trite.

 

The situation where decisions are taken and the unions invited to be informed does not portray collaboration. The raising of concerns should not be hurriedly taken to mean that we oppose the policy. The needless desperation to roll out the Policy with all the in-built flaws inherent in it is unacceptable to us.

 

The NTC should make haste slowly, sit down with all stakeholders and discuss issues dispassionately in the true spirit of collaboration so that we can all sing from the same page.

 

Looking at the way and manner the NTC is behaving, one can suspect that it has a hidden agenda to short-change the Ghanaian Teacher hence, its reluctance to fully engage the Teacher Unions in its deliberations. It is our view that Policy such as Teacher Registration and Licensing has serious and critical implications to the job security of the Teacher and that all aspects of it must be critically discussed within the framework of the Labour Law and Conditions of Service.

 

The Teacher Unions have also noted with disdain publications making rounds on social media purported to be coming from the Teaching Council on aspects of the PTPDM Document in the area of Teacher Licensing, Registration, etc. We call on teachers to disregard and desist from working with any such document when it has not been incorporated in our Conditions of Service.

 

If the modus operandi of the NTC does not change, the Teacher Unions will not have any option than to sever relationship with it. We will like to assure all teachers in the Pre-tertiary Sector that any attempt to impose any unnegotiated Policy on us will be resisted vehemently. The Unions have no other option than to advise themselves if the Teaching Council continues with its current unacceptable attitude.

 

David Ofori Acheampong                 General Secretary     GNAT       ………………………………..

Eric A Carbonu                                  President                    NAGRAT  ………………………………..

Awudu King Ali                                  President                    CCT           ……………………………….

 

 

March 26, 2018

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