The Youth Wing of the NDC has keenly followed and confirmed the rather arbitrary and retrogressive directive by the Minister of Education through the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE) to all the Principals of Colleges of Education to indefinitely close down their institutions.
We find this tragic development highly detrimental to all the gains we have made in our efforts to make our Colleges of Education excellent centers of learning for the training of teachers in the country.
It is even more troubling when you consider that this directive was necessitated by a prolonged strike by the Colleges of Education Teachers Association of Ghana (CETAG) over government’s refusal to pay them their Market premium as well as book and research allowance.
The Market Premium under the Single Spine Pay Policy (SSPP) introduced by the erstwhile NDC administration was introduced as a pay administration system in order to attract and retain critical skills in the public service.
As required by law, CETAG and it’s members are duly entitled to these incentives and are well within their rights to demand for same. The market premium paid must also reflect the new status of CETAG as tertiary lecturers. It is thus mind boggling that after according Colleges of Education tertiary status, the only thing that came to the mind of government is to give an order to trained teachers to render compulsory one year national service upon completion but this same government refuses to pay CETAG what is due them per their new status.
The Minister for Education, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, must not hide behind the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE) to continue his clandestine intention of undermining and cowing CETAG into submission. He and his outfit must recall CETAG back to the negotiation table and work towards an amicable resolution of the impasse.
This level of cluelessness coming right on the back of the KNUST fiasco cannot be allowed to continue. The lecturers and students of this country have had enough of this government’s ineptitude.
We recall that every decision by government since the group started it’s strike action has been catastrophic and driven by bad faith. Denying teachers their salaries because they were striking exposes the Minister of Education as one who has totally lost his bearing as a public servant.
This and many developments confirm clearly that the Akufo-Addo led administration cares less about our education sector and even more on what it needs to do to ensure there are progressive strides in the sector. Rather, it has held on to promoting its callous and iron-fist policies which are jeopardizing the future of students and destroying the quality and image of tertiary education in Ghana.
We wish to draw the attention of the Ministry of Education to the fact that, CETAG has nothing to lose if this impasse continues. It is our students in the Colleges of Education across the country who will bear the brunt of Government’s super-incompetence and insensitivity. It is therefore the sole responsibility of the sector ministry to ensure that this looming disaster is avoided. It is time to put arrogance and intransigence aside since it has not worked and indeed never works. Government must sit up.
Finally, we wish to appeal to CETAG to ignore government’s provocation and consider the future of the trainees whom we know they cherish and return to the negotiation table with the Ministry of Education and the National Labour Commission. At the end of it all, it’s the poor students who suffer, and we cannot compromise the quality of teachers we produce due to government’s insensitive and recalcitrant posture.
We stand with our students and CETAG.
George Opare Addo,
National Youth Organizer, NDC.