The Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), has hinted that they might declare a nationwide strike in September 2016, if the subsidy arrears of the various second-cycle institutions are not paid.
The Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS), earlier this week, issued a threat to close down Senior High Schools (SHS) nationwide following delays by the government in paying the subsidies.
According to the General Secretary of GNAT, David Ofori Acheampong, although it is unfortunate they would have to close down the schools over unpaid subsidies, it is also necessary to ensure the schools get the resources they need to run.
“We’ve gone past the era where we should be embarking on nationwide strikes because of salary. If the kind of logistics that we need to perform our jobs efficiently are denied us, why should we sit in the classroom. We are daring them that we are going to meet them and put up our statement.
“We are daring the Director General of the GES that if it comes to September and these things are not available to the schools, we’ll fully support them [CHASS] as an association,” he said.
GES to punish heads if…
The Ghana Education Service (GES), at a press conference in response to CHASS’ claims, blamed non-payment of the government subsidies to public Senior High schools on the late submission of students’ data by head teachers, to enable the processing of the grants. According to the GES, school heads are required to present students’ data on time to help fast-track the processing of the grants and subsidies.
Director General of GES, Jacob Kor, said at the press conference that “the untimely release of subsidies and grants is partly due to the lackadaisical attitudes of some of the heads in terms of the submission of data.”
“I have the list of schools that have not submitted data for the data we are processing now. How do we process some and leave others. I will query all those heads who as at now have not submitted the data for the processing of the subsidy.”
Mr. Kor said However, GNAT has criticized the GES Director for his comments stating that the headteachers had every right to go public with their situation if it wasn’t being addressed.
David Ofori Acheampong believes the GES should have met with the head teachers to find a solution to the issue instead of attempting to counter the claims in the media.
“The response of the Director General is unfortunate. When there are problems and the problems are not being resolved, the only avenue is to bring it to the court of public opinion that these are the challenges that confront us and therefore if nothing is done about it, we are unable to carry out our responsibilities as expected of us.
I believe it should have created a platform for the Director General to have met them to see the way forward,” he told Citi News.
“To issue threats and say the teachers are irresponsible is completely unacceptable. Who doesn’t ’now that the district education office which the Director General himself superintends are so badly resourced to the extent that most of the district directors go to the secondary schools for A4 paper to do their official work.
“Even funds for fuel to move the regional director’s vehicle is solicited from the second cycle schools.”