Teacher Unions in the Northern, Savannah and North East regions have joined calls for Parliament to suspend discussions on the Pre-Tertiary Education Bill.
According to analysts, the Bill, when passed, will see basic schools, Senior High Schools and Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) being managed by the District Assemblies, Regional Education Directorate and a Director-General independent of the Ghana Education Service.
At a press conference in Tamale, the Teacher Unions made up of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), Coalition of Concerned Teachers (CCT), National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) and Teachers and Education Workers Union (TEWU) said the Bill in its current state will be inimical to the education sector.
The Northern Regional Chairman for GNAT, Atta Longiya, noted that the Unions are not against the entire bill, but rather sections of it.
“If you look at the Bill, they are ceding the responsibilities of basic education to the district assemblies. We know that the district assemblies in Ghana, especially in these parts of the country, don’t have that capacity at least to manage the basic schools. They are also sending the Senior High Schools to the Regional Coordinating Councils to manage them and we know that, that will not auger well for the management of Senior High schools.”
“Look at the number of schools. How are they going to manage the payment of teachers’ salaries, infrastructure, and every other thing? So looking at all these, we need to take our time and get the grievances from the various unions so that we will be able to stimulate this Bill which will be passed so that nobody is affected,” he said.
The calls for the suspension of the Bill comes as a reiteration of concerns raised earlier on.
Parliament, however, referred the Teacher Unions to the Education Ministry for further engagement.
The government met with the various teacher unions in an attempt to address concerns they have raised over the Bill.
The President of NAGRAT, Angel Carbonu, after the dialogue, was hopeful their concerns will be considered in the final phase of the bill.
“We are discussing the various positions that we hold. We are still of the view that the fundamental basis [of the Bill will cause] problems for education so we are calling on the government to withdraw the Bill. It is not easy for the government to concede on matters like this but we believe we are raising very cogent points.”
Meanwhile, the Education Ministry indicated that the Bill was being used to pursue important reforms that will improve learning outcomes in our institutions of learning for the ultimate development of the country.
by Ellen Dapaah