Some teachers under the Ghana Education Service (GES) Monday said they are uncertain whether to continue their normal classroom work as directed by their employer or heed the call by their unions to abandon the classrooms.
They expressed their confusion to the Ghana News Agency team, which visited some public schools in Accra to assess how they had responded to strike called by the three teacher associations.
The action is to back their demand for the immediate payment of all the legacy arrears owed teachers from 2012 t0 2016.
Some said they had already been paid their allowances; while for others, they did not qualify as beneficiaries and therefore had nothing to do with it.
There were also those who understood the strike as a matter of solidarity with their affected colleagues and were all for it.
Many, however, declined to make any comments, saying, they were not authorised to talk to the media.
The GNA observed through its rounds that the children were settled in their classrooms but they were not being taught.
The teachers were seen either quietly in their seats or in the staff rooms.
The team learnt that some also did not report to work.
At the Madina Demonstration School, a teacher who pleaded anonymity said: “I was waiting to hear from the GES before today so I came to school only to find out that some of my colleagues are not in school.
“I am not personally affected by the arrears they are talking about and I think we are punishing the parents and students wrongly.”
Another teacher said they received messages from the Teacher Unions to stay out of school so they were waiting to hear from the Unions to resume work.
On Thursday, December 5, the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), the National Association of Graduate Teachers and the Coalition of Concerned Teachers – Ghana, announced that their more than 300,000 members will embark on indefinite strike from Monday, December 9, over unpaid arrears to some of their members.
The GES, in statement signed by its Director-General, Professor Kwasi Amankwa-Opoku, and issued on Sunday, December 8, described the strike as ‘illegitimate’ and a breach of ‘good faith’.
It said at its last meeting with the Unions on Monday, December 2, there was an understanding that the GES was working to clear the rest of the arrears to deserving beneficiaries by the Christmas break.
As of September 2019, 87,556 representing 95 per cent of the beneficiaries had been paid their arrears.
The statement added that the GES was in the process of validating the claims presented to it by the Auditor-General’s Department to clear some anomalies detected.
“On 9th November 2019, Management of the Ghana Education Service received another set of data from the Controller and Accountant General covering 1,847 personnel who were to be paid their salary arrears.
“A close examination of the data indicated the following anomalies, which would have led to an excess payment of about GH¢11,300,376.00:
“Some of the personnel were to be paid undeserved ranks. Some of the names had no personal records on the GES payroll from 2012 2014 to establish that they could be owed arrears over that period
“Some of the listed personnel were not owed any salary arrears and yet had been credited with huge sums of money and in some case up to GH¢58,000.00.
“Some female personnel were to be paid night watchmen allowances when they have never been night watchmen with the GES.
“Some staff who were owed by six months have been credited for only two months.”
The GES, therefore, asked its teaching staff to report to work as usual.
The Unions are, however, saying that none of the anomalies identified were caused by the beneficiaries so they should not suffer for it.
The GES, they said should go ahead to authorise payment and sort out the issues with the Controller and Auditor-General’s Internal Audit Department.