The General Secretary of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), Mr Thomas T. Musah has cautioned trainee teachers to be worried about the Pre – Tertiary Education Bill currently in Parliament. The Bill seeks to provide a decentralized pre-tertiary education system and to produce individuals with the requisite knowledge, skills and values, to become functional and productive citizens for national development. Teacher Unions have on several occasions called on Parliament to suspend the ongoing deliberations on the Pre – Tertiary Education Bill until outstanding issues around it are resolved with the Ministry of Education.
Statement By The General Secretary of GNAT
The General Secretary of GNAT, Mr Thomas T. Musah stated that, “they need to be worried due to these reasons – First, when you look at Section 36 of the Bill, it says that teachers employed in basic schools are on the coming into force of this Act transferred to the Local Government Service. What it simply means is that all the districts where the teachers are working currently, from the moment this Bill comes into force, you are transferred to the District Assembly”.
He further explained the Bill states that the Conditions of Service of the staff of the Education Service would also be transferred. It means that not only is the teacher being transferred but also his Conditions of Service will also be transferred to the District Assembly. Meaning the issues of transfer, termination and other issues would be transferred to the District Assembly. When you move to Section 31, it also says that the Head of the Local Government Service in consultation with the Education Service shall appoint the District Officer (the District Director).
It goes on to say in Section 32 of the Bill that the District Officer in – charge of the Education Unit at the Department of Education, Youth and Sports on behalf of the Head of Local Government Service and acting on the recommendation of the Head of the District Education Unit, is responsible for the appointment, promotion, discipline and dismissal of the headteachers and staff of basic schools in the District. The danger here is that, as a teacher, your appointment can be terminated anytime at the district level by the District Director.
Aside that, under the Conditions of Service, there is the Scheme of Service, the Code of Professional Conduct and the Conditions of Service itself. Imagine each District having its own version of Conditions of Service and their own agreements that they will be dealing with. Can you imagine a District Chief Executive, who is a politician going to appoint a District Officer (District Director); Who do you think will be appointed? I can tell you that it is certainly going to be a party member. We are equally opposing some of the terms of the Bill at the Regional level.
The Bill states under article 195 that, the President shall appoint some Officers at the Regional level. We all know that the moment the President appoints a Regional Minister, the Minister together with the Regional Coordinating Council will automatically do the rest of the appointments since the President does not have time to be appointing Officers at the Regional level.
We are saying that all these things if allowed to stand, shall lead to the politicization of the Ghana Education Service. Hence, the collapse of the teaching profession. We are saying No! this also means that once posted as a newly trained teacher to a district, you are forever bound to that district and can never seek transfer. You can only do that when you tender a resignation letter. These and many more are the reasons why we are saying NO to the Bill.