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General News Sat, 19 Sep 2009

GNAT praise Mills

Koforidua, Sept 19, GNA - The Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) has expressed its gratitude to the President for launching the New Pension Scheme, which, it said would bring relief to workers when they retire.

The association said the National Pensions Authority, the would-be trustees, fund managers and a restructured SSNIT would be subjected to utmost scrutiny, adding "For never again shall we allow ourselves to be taken for a ride."

Mr Kweku Adjei, the National President of GNAT, said this at the opening of a three-day third Quadrennial Eastern Regional Delegates Conference of the association in Koforidua on Thursday. He said issues concerning pensions were a serious one because it affected the lives of thousands of dedicated and loyal Ghanaians who had sacrificed to train the human resource that the country needed for its development.

Mr Adjei expressed worry about the situation where professional teachers who entered the universities using their own resources because the quota system could not allow them to be paid for the four years were being refused posting after graduation.

He said the situation should be redressed so that the teachers could be employed and paid and promptly too.

On delayed emoluments for newly trained teachers Mr Adjei said the practice could be very demoralizing and called on the Ghana Education Service (GES) and the government to ensure young teachers are not given a "baptism of fire" to dissuade them from giving off their best to raise the educational standards in the country. "We believe that solving this problem also has the added advantage of magnetizing a number of young Senior High School graduates to make teaching a profession of choice".

Mr Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, the Eastern Regional Minister, said basic education had been taken for granted for far too long and that it was that aspect of education that required most attention.

"In terms of infrastructure logistics, teachers and accessibility in the rural areas, Ghana after half a century of independence, still has a long way to go."

Mr Paul Osei-Mensah, a former General Secretary, GNAT, suggested that if it becomes possible for any government to change an educational policy it should be done after a thorough public debate. He said the success of the country's educational policies should be measured by the conduct and behaviour of the beneficiaries of the educational system and the trades, occupations and professions they acquired.

Mr Osei-Mensah said though governments had the legitimate right over educational policies, it was desirable that consensus was reached on such issues.

"It must be borne in mind that frequent changes in policies that affect curricula pose problems for teachers and those who have to design such curricula".

He said since society is dynamic, periodic changes in the education policies is inevitable but when changes have no relationship with the objective conditions, they become meaningless. 19 Sept 09

Source: GNA