General News Fri, 29 Nov 2002

Graduate teachers warn Education Service

The National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), on Thursday said if the Ghana Education Service (GES) did not give it official recognition by the end of December, this year, it would ensure that the Acting Director-General (DG) of the GES was removed from office for the right thing to be done.

Lucas K. Alagbo, President of NAGRAT has therefore, appealed to Parliament, the Cabinet, Ministry of Education (MOE), GES Council and Management to ensure that NAGRAT was well captured in the newly drafted GES Bill to pave the way for the official recognition of NAGRAT to forestall any industrial action.

Speaking at a press conference in Accra, Alagbo accused John Budu-Smith, Acting Director-General (DG) of GES and its management of not having the interest of NAGRAT at heart, thereby denying the Association its constitutional right of freedom of association.

Alagbo said despite the Ministry of Justice and the Attorney-General's office and the Ministry of Education directives to the GES to recognise NAGRAT as an association the Acting Director General had failed to comply.

He said, "NAGRAT has had enough of the contempt, blackmail and snobbishness of the GES heirachy and we are at the verge of passing a vote of no confidence in the Acting Director-General," he said.

"We can assure the public that with our current membership of 6,000 and with 3,000 more waiting to get on our pay roll; we have what it takes to make the Ag. D-G get out of office."

Alagbo said several efforts by NAGRAT to get the GES to officially recognise NAGRAT as a legitimate independent teachers' association has proved futile due to a deliberate and sustained marginalization and open biased towards NAGRAT.

He said, since the Ag. D-G and the present management took office from February, this year, they have refused to meet with NAGRAT and have refused to respond to a series of correspondence NAGRAT sent to them on pertinent issues.

"NAGRAT petitioned the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General in December 2001 to help amend the GES Act 506 of 1995 to recognise NAGRAT in addition to Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) and Tertiary Education Workers Union (TEWU)."

Alagbo said following the petition, the Minister of Justice, in a letter dated February 7, 2002, instructed the GES management to accord NAGRAT the due official recognition as the amendment of the ACT 506 needed not to be a precondition for the recognition of NAGRAT under the 1992 Constitution, which guaranteed freedom of association.

He said additionally, at a meeting on 11 June this year that was held between executives of NAGRAT, GES management and the Deputy Minister of Education Rashid Bawa, reprimanded the Ag. D-G for not heeding to the instruction of the Minister of Justice and further ordered him to do the right thing.

All these instructions from the superiors have gone unheeded and NAGRAT continues to be a victim of discrimination, deliberate and sustained marginalisation, hostility and open bias from the GES management led by the Acting Director General, he said.

Alagbo said the discrimination against NAGRAT by the GES was further evident in the non-representation of NAGRAT on the committee, which recently completed the draft of a new GES Act in Sogakope.

In Sogakope, recommendation to replace GNAT and TEWU with several Teacher Associations to recognise NAGRAT and other education workers, was vetoed out by a GES official on grounds that NAGRAT was not known to the GES.

"We wish to inform the GES top officials that they are out of tune with reality and out of order thinking that NAGRAT is not a legitimate body," he said. "Members of NAGRAT have the constitutional right to belong to any association of their choice or none at all, besides the GES cannot decide who should belong to which association."

He said early this year, the GES Council was reconstituted to include representatives from various institutions both within and outside the education sector, but NAGRAT was conspicuously left out.

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