General News of 2014-08-12

UTAG threatens to churn out mediocre graduates if…

The University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) has threatened to produce half-baked graduates for the country by going to classrooms without having concluded negotiations on the Book and Research Allowance.

It said it is fed up with government’s attitude towards paying the allowances for the 2013/2014 academic year.

“We are fed up with this annual thing of having to go through this process,” remarked Dr Langbong Bimi, the President of the University of Ghana branch of UTAG.

“We are taking the country through a lot of hell, and the students are suffering and we parents ourselves are suffering and as lecturers, nobody is interested in this.”

Dr Bimi was speaking to TV3’s Daniel Opoku in an interview on Monday, August 11, 2014.

He pointed out that lecturers should matter-of-factly be demanding for the Book and Research Allowances for the 2014/2015 academic year in addition to those of 2013/2014 since technically the academic year began August 1.

“[As] school reopens, we [can] either go and produce half-baked graduates [who are] mediocre or we don’t work until we get,” he stated.

UTAG has been on strike since Thursday, July 24 after complaining about unpaid allowances. A proposal to set up a National Research Fund with a seed money of GH¢15 million has been rejected by the lecturers.

The strike action has forced some institutions, notably the University of Cape Coast, to postpone reopening date indefinitely.

Dr Bimi advised all other public institutions to follow suit since the strike is a marked departure from previous years’ – which were declared while school was in session.

“Any university should reconsider shifting the reopening date,” he advised.

“Last year, UTAG went on strike while some universities were already in session. So, after 21 days there was this problem of we shutting down or not shutting down. This time we embarked on the strike before a single university could reopen.”

He asked management of the various universities to be proactive and call off reopening dates.

“It will be out of place for any university to go ahead and reopen knowing very well that UTAG is on strike, and we have withdrawn all teaching services.”

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