General News of Saturday, 8 February 2020
The Ministry of Education says former President John Mahama has the worst record in the educational sector since independence.
This is in reaction to Mr Mahama‘s claims that the Akufo-Addo-led government is gagging teachers in the sector.
The former President at a meeting with the leadership of the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) on Wednesday said the governmenyt was intimidating teachers.
He said: “We need to reform [the educational sector] in order to improve the outcomes that we get from the educations service, but in doing those reforms, you must carry everyone with you. Right now, there’s a certain tyranny in the system. If as a headteacher you open your mouth and talk, you’ll be dismissed without going through due process. Everybody is quiet because everyone is afraid to talk. And so the government is just going ahead implementing and bulldozing its way through. One question you ask yourself is what is the quality of those children that are going to come out?” he questioned.
The Ministry in a statement, however, dismissed these claims, saying the government has been keen on engaging stakeholders, including various teacher unions.
“In all its reforms since taking office, this government has been particular about engaging all its stakeholders, including the various teacher unions. Indeed, teacher unions will testify that, the sector Minister, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh operates an open door policy and that they need no appointment to visit and engage him on any issue relating to education.”
The Ministry said the former President’s record in office in the education sector is the “worst since independence, to put it mildly.”
Read the full statement below;
JDM- THE MOST TEACHER-UNFRIENDLY PRESIDENT
The attention of the Ministry of Education has been drawn to a news item carried by www.citinewsroom, in which former President John Mahama is said to have criticized government for allegedly gagging teachers. This is said to be at a meeting yesterday with the leadership of the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT).
Unfortunately, as it usually the case with educational matters, the former president’s allegations are devoid of facts.
In all its reforms since taking office, this government has been particular about engaging all its stakeholders, including the various teacher unions. Indeed, teacher unions will testify that, the sector Minister, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh operates an open door policy and that they need no appointment to visit and engage him on any issue relating to education.
It is worthy to note that the former President’s record in office in the education sector is the worst since independence, to put it mildly. His government has been the most teacher-unfriendly. Issues detrimental to the teacher perpetrated by his government include;
1. Cancellation of teacher trainee allowances
2. Failure to employ a single graduate teacher throughout his tenure
3. Salary legacy arrears in respect of payments to teachers, in pursuing their three-month pay policy.
4. Non-payment of tier 2 pension funds for teachers
5. A three-year backlog of non-promotion of teachers
6. Non-negotiation for four years for enhanced conditions of service for teachers.
7. No policy targeted at teachers
This government, on the other hand, has a record it can be proud of with respect to our hardworking teachers.
1. Restoration of teacher trainee allowances
2. Upgrading of Diploma awards by Colleges of Education to Degree awarding institutions.
3. Payment of GHC 70 to each teacher as motivation under the Free SHS policy
4. Clearing of legacy debts accrued by Mr. Mahama’s government
5. Abolition of three-month pay policy and prompt payment of teachers after recruitment
6. Out of turn promotion for teachers who upgrade to Masters level.
7. Development with partners (UNESCO, Norway) and unions a comprehensive teacher policy
8. Engaging unions on conditions of service, which the previous government never did.
It is worthy of note that in the pursuit of their teacher-unfriendly policies, unions did not indulge in strike actions against the Mahama government. Why, was this because he was gagging teachers and teacher unions?
The government that is paying his legacy arrears, of which over 97% has been paid, is rather on the receiving end of strike actions. Certainly, this is not a sign of gagging.
It beggars belief that Mr. Mahama would proffer views and launch unfounded criticisms on this government, which is doing its best for the teaching profession. He has absolutely no moral right to do so.
The former President is advised to desist from seeking to poison the relationship between the Ministry and the teaching profession for purposes of cheap political expediency.
Director of Communications
Ekow Vincent Assafuah