Ghana: No Activity in Public Schools

10 December 2019
opinion

Public school activities came to a standstill across the country yesterday, following the strike declared by the three teacher unions over the failure of the government to pay their legacy arrears.

Although students and pupils were in some schools, there were no teachers present to teach.

Some of the pupils were spotted learning on their own while others were playing football and other sporting activities when the Ghanaian Times visited some junior and senior high schools (SHS) in Accra.

The teachers and heads of the schools declined interviews following a directive from the Ghana Education Service (GES) not to speak to any media person.

At the Kaneshie Bishop 1 and 2, there were only two female teachers at the Teachers Office with no teaching activity going on as some of the children were spotted playing at the school compound.

The headmistress who declined to speak only told the Ghanaian Times that, she was awaiting her Circuit Supervisor to come and assess the situation.

At the J.T Cluster of Schools, the situation was no different as all the classrooms had no teacher; however, the form three students were taking control of the situation as some of them were teaching their junior colleagues.

Kelvin Opoku, a form three student at the Latebiokoshie Presbyterian Cluster of Schools said, some of the teachers were at the school to teach only the form three students.

He said, although most of the teachers were present, they did not teach and appealed to government to intervene to ensure effective teaching and learning.

At the Mamprobi Sempe Junior High School, (JHS) the Headmistress said, the Ghana Education Service (GES) had given directive not to allow any media person into the school premises.

Although there were teachers present, they were sitting outside chatting whiles the children were making noise in the classrooms.

Master Shakira Amutu, a form three student of the Abossey Okai Basic School said, there were no lessons and appealed to the government to come to their aid as the form three students would soon be writing their Basic Education Certificate Examination(BECE).

At the Ebenezer SHS, almost all the classes were empty, as they were no teachers' whiles most of the student were spotted going home.

From Bolgatanga, Samuel Akapule reports that the nationwide strike action declared by three teacher unions has taken effect in the Bolgatanga Municipality of the Upper East Region with teachers abandoning classes.

Students and pupils who attended school yesterday, were asked to return home by teachers of some schools while in some schools the teachers did not even turn up.

Three teacher unions namely the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) and Coalition of Concerned Teachers Ghana jointly declared to lay down their tools yesterday, over government's failure to meet their demands.

The teacher unions declared their intention to embark on a nationwide strike on December 5, 2019 after their plea with government to settle all arrears owed teachers since 2012 and improve their working conditions had not materialized.

As a result, teachers refused to attend classes or teach the children when the Ghanaian Times visited some of the schools in the municipality.

At about 11am when the Ghanaian Times visited some schools, there was no single teacher in the schools and in some cases the classrooms were locked.

When the reporter caught up with some of the pupils who were returning home from their schools, they said their teachers had gone on strike and none of them came to school.

At St Charles, Atozongo, Kulgu, Kolgo, Atampuruum and Atampuruum B primary and Junior High Schools, all the classrooms were locked up and there was no single teacher or pupil in any of the schools.

All public schools in the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis in the Western Region, had their doors shut in observance of the strike action embarked upon by the three teachers unions, namely NAGRAT, GNAT and CCT-Ghana reports Peter Gbambila.

A visit to some schools within the metropolis saw all the classrooms locked with school pupils leaving the school premises for their various homes.

At the Seventh Day Cluster of Schools in Takoradi, a head teacher who did not want to disclose his identity told this reporter that information was sent from Accra to begin the strike today. He said teachers thought government would come in to solve the problem but there was no response from government.

He said the main problem was about accrued arrears since the introduction of the Single Spine concept since 2012. He said the executives have been meeting government to find a solution to the problem but government's response has not been very good.

He said schools were in the fourteenth week and were preparing to write the end of term examinations adding "government sent the examination questions last week Thursday". He said when he contacted the Circuit Supervisor, he was informed not to supervise the pupils to write any examination so the pupils were informed to go home.

The Head teacher said that the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), the Ghana National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) and the Coalition of Concerned Teachers (CCT) have unanimously agreed to go on the strike until government gave them their arrears.

When the Metropolitan Chairman of Private Schools, Mr Charles Mitaaba was contacted he said all private schools were in session waiting to write the termly examinations. He said there were sixty one (61) private schools as against eighty (80) public schools in the metropolis.

A visit to Bishop Essuah Cluster of Schools, Bedu Ansah Methodist Schools, the Anglican Schools and the SDA Cluster of Schools all in Takoradi, Rev Grant and Dunwell Methodist Schools in Effiakuma were all closed down.

From Tema, Godfred Blay Gibbah reports that a visit to some schools in Tema revealed most of the public school students loitering about as teachers were visibly absent in the classrooms following the teachers strike action.

At the Chemu Senior High School, at Community 4, at 9:25am some teachers had gathered in front of the school chatting.

Most of the students were seated in the classrooms reading their books but no teachers was seen teaching in class.

The Headmaster of the school, Mr Clemence Y. Baba, in a conversation said the school was due to start its end- of- first semester examination yesterday in preparation for vacation on December 20, 2019.

At the Twedaase Junior High School, scores of pupils were seen playing in the compound with two teachers spotted in the staff common room.

The story was not different at the Akodzo Junior High School, where some of the pupils loitered around as others were engaged in chat because there was no teacher in class.

The Tema Metropolitan Secretary of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) Mr Seth Annang, said some of their members in the area went to school yesterday because they had not received hard copies of the official document announcing the strike action.

Academic work came to a halt yesterday in most basic schools within the Sunyani municipality of the Bono Region, following the strike action declared by three teacher unions last week reports Daniel Dzirasah.

Due to that, most pupils were either sent home or left to loiter around the school premises as at 10:45am.

The schools visited were Nyamaa basic, St James R/C, Boahene korkor basic and Ridge Experimental schools among others.

Attempts by this reporter to have a word with the heads of the schools proved unsuccessful as they claimed they have been asked not to speak to the media.

The Ghanaian Times was also told that the Sunyani Municipal Director of Education had left his office to town during our visit around 11:45am, except to meet the Sunyani District GNAT chairman, Alanyina Sampana Sampson.

According to him, out of 120,232 affected teachers, 87,556 teachers have been paid by the government leaving 32,676 teachers who have not received their monies.

He said although the strike action was solely on salary arrears, there were other outstanding issues such as delay in promotions, wrongful deduction from teachers' salaries among others they were dealing with.

Mr Sampana stressed that they would only call off the strike only when they have been communicated to by their leadership.

From Ho, Grace Senam Klay reports that basic schools in the Ho municipality of the Volta Region, have been shut as a result of an ongoing strike action by three Teacher Unions in the country.

The Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), Ghana National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) and the Coalition of Teachers- Ghana (CCT-GH), on Friday declared a strike to demand payment of salary arrears owned their members by Ghana Education Service(GES).

The arrears termed by the teacher unions as legacy arrears are outstanding salary arrears of millions of cedis accrued between 2012 and 2016.

About 120,232 staffs of Ghana Education Staff are affected.

When the Ghanaian Times visited some basic schools in Ho yesterday, most classrooms were locked with few students on campus.

Almost all lower primary pupils left the school few hours after reporting.

This was evident in Methodist Basic School and Anglican Basic School.

However, some students at Mawuko Senior High School were writing exams.

Other schools visited were also having their end of term exams which was being supervised by few National Service personnel.

The nation-wide teachers strike has begun in the Northern Region as many of teachers did not turn up in school in the Tamale metropolis and Sangnarigu municipality yesterday reports Yakubu Abdul-Majeed.

The few teachers most of whom believed to be head teachers and headmistresses were seen sitting unconcerned in the various basic schools at the time the Ghanaian Times visited the schools.

At about 10:20am on Monday, the pupils of Sakasaka primary school in Tamale were seen playing on the school compound at the time the Ghanaian Times visited there.

A female teacher who was at the school premises at the time refused to speak to the reporter, stressing "Please I don't want to be interviewed".

At SDA Primary and Junior High Schools, the pupils were also playing without any teacher at the time of the visit.

Some parents went to pick their wards and children from the schools since there were no teachers to teach them.

Checks from the various districts in the northern region revealed that teachers were not in their schools yesterday.

From Kumasi, Kingsley E. Hope reports that in some parts of the Kumasi Metropolis, some schools did not comply with the strike while others did.

Akurem M/A Primary and JHS, Nasiriya Islamic Primary and JHS, both in the Asokore Mampong Municipality, did not comply with the strike. Lessons were in session at the time of the visit.

Other schools that complied with the strike, included Aboabo M/A JHS, Sakafia Islamic Primary and JHS, and John Dramani Mahama Primary School, also in the Asokore Mampong Municipality.

The school pupils were, at the time of the visit loitering about in the communities and others organised themselves to play football at nearby parks.

The story was not different from schools in Adum, such as Adum Presby, where some of the teachers were seen loitering around and others interacting with some of the pupils outside the classroom

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