Parliament appeals to teachers to stay in classroom

Members of Parliament on Tuesday expressed concern about the low salary and poor conditions of service of teachers and appealed to them to abandon the strike action and return to the classroom while government work on improving their situation.

Teachers nationwide hit the streets demonstrating over payment of their salaries on the Single Spine Salary Structure.

Mr Mathias Puozaa, Chairman of the Education Committee who made the appeal, said it was based on concrete steps that were being taken by the President and the sector Minister to find a solution to the problem.

He said these assurances were backed by action adding that just after the problem started a technical team of 15 drawn from Ghana Education Service (GES), Teacher Education and Workers Union (TEWU), Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), National Association of Graduate Teachers(NAGRAT), Fair Wages Salaries Commission (FWSC) and Controller and Accountant General Department (CAGD) was assembled to examine and identify errors emanating from the implementation of the Single Spine Salary Pay Policy and make recommendations.

He said as at 28, a total of 276,413 staff members were on GES payroll with 180 staff members still on the old salary structure out of which 144 are teachers and the remaining non-teaching staff.

He said wrong placement of grade steps and wrong placement of jobs for certain category of employees net salaries for February 2011 for most Professional Teaching Staff were less than that of January 2011.

He said the committee also found that due to incomplete data some GES employees with additional duties were not mapped on the approved grade structure with the consolidation and stoppage of professional allowance of professional teachers had made them worst off.

Mr Puozaa noted that the committee recommended that professional allowances should be restored as an inducement to teachers immediately to make up for the short fall in salaries of some professional teachers.

Also GES and FWSC and Controller and Accountant General’s Department should find solutions to the problems.

He commended NAGRAT for the efforts to call off the strike and appealed to all teachers to have confidence in the leadership and continue to dialogue with government to find a lasting solution to the impasse because abandoning the classroom would affect the children.

Papa Owusu Ankomah, Member for Secondi, said the teachers’ reaction was spontaneous and that in the case of GNAT members went on strike contrary to definite position by their leaders.

He said the position taken by the teachers was nationwide in respect of SSPP was unprecedented which never in the history of the country has teachers gone on strike.

Papa Owusu Ankomah said the teachers believe their salary should commensurate with other public sector workers noting that no amount of earthly compensation  can measure up to the work done by teachers and that is why it is often said that the teachers reward is in heaven.

He called on government to put in place policies that are not short term measures to eventually make teaching attractive.

Dr Mathew Prempeh, Member of Parliament for Manhyia, said police should be their brother’s keeper and not necessarily shot at demonstrators adding that the Inspector General of Police should train and retrain the security personnel.

Mr Joe Ghartey, member for Essikadu/Ketan, said the SSPP was not implemented by the New Patriotic Party because the time frame could not allow the government at the time to do so before leaving office.

Alhaji Amadu Sorogho, member for Abokobi-Madina, said the foundation of the SSPP was not properly laid.

Source: GNA

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