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SPEECH DELIVERED BY THE MINISTER OF EDUCATION, HON. MATHEW OPOKU PREMPEH AT THE INAUGURATION OF THE NAGRAT NATIONAL SECRETARIAT OFFICE ON WEDNESDAY, 19TH APRIL 2017

SPEECH DELIVERED BY THE MINISTER OF EDUCATION, HON. MATHEW OPOKU PREMPEH AT THE INAUGURATION OF THE NAGRAT NATIONAL SECRETARIAT OFFICE ON WEDNESDAY, 19TH APRIL 2017

Mr. Chairman, My Lord the Metropolitan Archbishop  of the Accra Arch Diocese of the Catholic Church, Niime, Naame, the President, National Officers, Past and Present, National Executive Committee, National Council, Other  Officers of NAGRAT, Ladies and gentlemen of the Press, Invited Guest, Ladies and Gentlemen, I am exceedingly glad to be part of this event.

Information available to me indicate that, since the inception of the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) in 1996, the Association has been a major stakeholder in education delivery in Ghana and has contributed positively to education discourse over the years. From 2000 to 2008, the Government of Ghana under the New Patriotic Party leadership had extensively collaborated and co-operated with NAGRAT in matters related to education in the Country. Yes, we have had our ups and downs but we can summarise the   relationship between government and the Association then, as warm, collegial and complementary. Today, I am happy that we have the opportunity to carry this relationship to a higher level and I urge all and sundry to cease the opportunity.

Governments, the world over have the responsibility of improving upon the lot of the governed and we in the current government are in the firm belief that the surest way to ensure an all round` improvement in the lives of the people we govern is to make quality education available to every Ghanaian, especially children. It is our conviction that obtaining a quality education is the foundation to improving peoples’ lives and sustainable development. This is the reason why we are completely committed to the Sustainable Development Goals especially Goal 4 which essentially concerns “Ensuring Inclusive and Quality Education for all and promoting lifelong Learning”

Our policies on education such as the provision of free Senior High School Education and the restoration of Teacher Trainee Allowances, attest to our commitment to providing quality education to the citizenry. We can only achieve that much by placing the teacher and his/her conditions of work at the centre of education.

Much as we are determined to make a mark in our educational agenda, we are not oblivious of the roles of other stakeholders in the industry, especially that of Teacher Unions. We are equally aware that when the call in made for Teacher Unions to rise up to be counted, NAGRAT is a force to reckon with.

It is true that we have the will to move education a notch higher but the Teacher has the know-how that cannot be ignored. Therefore if Ghanaians are to enjoy the optimum benefits of education, a symbiotic relationship between Government and the Teacher Unions is sine qua none. It is in this regard that I look forward to closer co-operation and collaboration between government and the Teacher Unions.

Mr. Chairman, I will do myself and this gathering a great disservice if I fail to commend NAGRAT for putting up this magnificent edifice that we are commissioning. The building speaks for itself and of the NAGRAT crave for excellence. Clothed in robes of glory and majesty, it requires no special appreciative skills to tell that so much effort, costs and sacrifices went into it. It is my expectation that the structure will greatly enhance output for your members and mother Ghana. Use it to the fullest and let posterity rise to say that but for NAGRAT, we could not have progressed this far.

Thank you for your invitation. My doors are open to you at all times. Let us harness our talents for the betterment of our nation, through frequent interactions, collaboration and co-operation.

Thank you.

April 19, 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