Regional News of 2014-05-16

Poly students worried over POTAG strike

Student of Accra Polytechnic have expressed their disappointment at the timing of the strike by their lecturers.

The students say the ongoing strike by the members of the Polytechnic Teachers Association of Ghana (POTAG) will adversely affect their preparations for the end of semester examinations expected to begin in June.

POTAG announced an indefinite nationwide strike in protest against the unwillingness of government to pay their Book and Research Allowance for the 2013/2014 academic year.

In an interview with Citi News, some students of the Accra Polytechnic said the strike is unfair.

“We will be having mid-semester exams next week and we also haven’t completed all the topics in our handout that is going to cover the exams. We have to do it on our own and it is going to be a bit stressful,” said a student.

Another also complained saying, “it’s going to affect us a lot because we need lecturers to come and explain certain things to us. We can’t do things on our own and their TAs [Teaching Assistants] are also not coming to class.”

Citi News’ Ashanti Regional correspondent, Hawa Iddrisu upon a visit to the Kumasi Polytechnic reported that students were seen sitting in groups discussing the strike while others were seen studying under trees.

The final year students of the school noted that they will be affected the most because they were scheduled to meet their lecturers on a one-on-one session for their final examination.

Some of them complained that the completion of their thesis hangs in balance as their supervisors are not prepared to examine them. Others also wondered if their upcoming examinations will take place since the timetable has already been released.

“We don’t know whether there will be any lecturers to supervise, whether they will even bring the questions for us to write the exams and if it doesn’t happen, it will affect us a lot,” a student said.

They, therefore, appealed to government and the Education Ministry to as a matter of urgency, address the concerns of POTAG members to enable them resume classes and complete their examinations as planned.

Meanwhile, members of the Accra Polytechnic branch of POTAG say the only way to get them back to the lecture halls will be for government to heed their call for the maintenance of their research allowance.

Derrick Okine Addo, the Chairman of the Accra Polytechnic branch of POTAG told Citi News, government has breached the terms and conditions of service for POTAG members.

He disclosed that POTAG has been meeting with government but no positive outcome was achieved, hence, their decision to lay down their tools. The Education Ministry last year announced its intention to scrap the book and research allowance being enjoyed by university lecturers.

The Ministry disclosed that government was considering merging all the research allowances into one, to be known as the National Research Fund.

Every lecturer is paid between $400 and $600 a year as book and research allowance.

Government spends $7 million yearly on book and research allowance.

But this decision has been fiercely resisted by both POTAG and the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG).

Source: citifmonline.com
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