Three teacher unions are up in arms against a proposed policy that would require all In-Service Teachers in Ghana to acquire a Teacher Professional License.
They say that they would neither pay the GH¢200.00 to acquire the license nor allow it members to pay a renewal fee of GH¢100.00 every two years as part of a new policy being implemented by the National Teacher Council (NTC)
They have, therefore, called for the immediate suspension of the policy, threatening to advice themselves if the NTC did not adhere to their demands.
The unions who issued the statement in Accra on Tuesday, are the Ghana National Association of Teacher (GNAT), the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), and the Coalition of Concerned Teachers-Ghana (CCT-GH).
"We must emphasise that failure to suspend the new policy would leave the Teacher Unions with no option than advise ourselves accordingly" they warned.
They cautioned further that, should the National Teaching Council fail to heed to their call and go ahead with the implementation of the policy, it would not be able to control the actions of its members.
The Ghanaian Times sees the development between the Teacher unions and the NTC as needless and unwarranted.
We see the impasse as a clear miscommunication and misunderstanding between the parties that could be resolved easily if the two groups had dialogued and ironed out their differences.
What we see as the concern to the teachers is simply the fact that their inputs were not factored in the policy before implementation and that the NTC had gone ahead to announce the implementation of the policy without prior social dialogue with the Teacher Unions.
Although we share in the concerns of the teachers over the matter, we disagree with their constant threat of industrial action over every issue.
We have not heard the side of NTC in the matter, but we are certain that they would have their own explanation and the reason why they did not factor in the inputs of the Teacher Unions in the new policy.
It would be improper if indeed the NTC did not include the inputs of the teachers, in the new policy. It would not be a fair if social partners and critical stakeholders in education were ignored in the implementation of such a crucial decision.
In such matters, we would have thought that the NTC would engage the teachers in a frank and transparent manner before the introduction of the payment for a professional teacher licenses fees.
Be it as it may, the teachers have spoken and we believe the NTC has heard them. We expect the two parties to go back to the negotiation table and discuss the issues in order to arrive at a common ground.
The issues raised by the teacher union are not unsurmountable. They can be resolved without confrontation.