The University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) has given government up to 31st July this year, to pay all Book and Research allowance (BRA) arrears or face its wrath.
The teachers described as unfortunate the ritual where they have to ‘fight’ government for the payment of those allowances even though they are legitimate part of UTAG members’ conditions of service.
“Even though this year the leadership has already communicated several times to government for the payment of the said allowances for the 2014/2015 academic year, which has just ended, there appears to be no concrete move for the payment apart from the verbal assurance by the Minister of Education to facilitate payment” it recalled.
In a statement issued and signed by the National Executive Committee (NEC), UTAG urged government to take urgent steps towards the payment of those allowances in order to forestall any potential disruption of the coming academic year (2015/2016).
Meanwhile, UTAG has taken a swipe at government for placing a ban on recruitment and replacement in the public universities saying it compromises the quality of teaching and learning.
The association; after describing it as incomprehensible and preposterous, posited that, naturally and expectedly, numbers of academic staff across the universities keep dwindling as a result of death, retirement, resignation, incapacitation, and vacation of post, hence the need to revoke it.
In 2013 Government placed a ban on recruitment of Teachers and also on the engagement of part-time lecturers. This, since its inception, has sparked agitations among stakeholders but the policy still holds.
But UTAG pointed out that the situation had resulted in the universities operating at student-teacher ratios (STRs) far in excess of the approved norms of the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE), putting undue stress on the few and dwindling academic staff.
“Such a high ratio is an indication of inadequate academic staff which compromises the quality of teaching, learning, and research”, it added.
Consequently, the group noted such an adverse ratio inhibits the universities from developing new programmes to meet current developmental needs of the nation.
The university teachers observed that Ghana’s standard of education in recent times has been facing serious challenges, which if not immediately addressed could lead to the complete erosion of the hard-earned reputation and recognition of the country’s educational system.
“Indeed, the continuing falling “standards” in education is an apparent reflection of the way and manner issues of national interest are dealt with without recourse to the requisite professionalism. The University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) notes with concern that university education cannot be insulated from the effects of these developments”, the association noted.