General News Sun, 12 Jun 2005

NDC urges President to help resolve NAGRAT strike

Accra, June 11, GNA - The National Democratic Congress (NDC) on Friday urged President John Agyekum Kufuor to help to resolve the strike action by the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), which has crippled academic work at second cycle schools with final year students waiting to write their Senior Secondary School Examinations (SSSCE) being the hardest hit.

In a statement signed by Mr Bede Ziedeng, Acting General Secretary, the NDC also appealed to NAGRAT to work towards the resolution of the matter. "We are calling for decisive action by the President, who as Chief Executive of the country, is required to provide leadership in resolving the long-running dispute," it said. "Ghanaians have a right to expect that in a matter of such grave national importance, President Kufuor would by now have made a personal intervention to help resolve matters," it said.

"The NDC wishes to reiterate its earlier appeal to members of NAGRAT to consider the plight of the students and to continue to dialogue with the educational authorities for the speedy resolution of the matter in the interest of the development of this country. The NDC commended the Parliamentary Select Committee on Education for the initiative it had taken and expressed the hope that the combined efforts of all stakeholders, including the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) might succeed in providing a solution before the commencement of the SSSCE. NAGRAT started its strike action at the beginning of the final term of this academic year to demand improved conditions. The strike has continued despite many meetings with various stakeholders, as these have failed to break the deadlock with the Ghana Education Service (GES).

Students in second cycle institutions in Accra on Thursday defied a rainfall and went on a peaceful demonstration to appeal to striking members of the NAGRAT to return to the classroom. The leadership of the National Union of Ghana Students, together with the Greater Accra Students Representative Council, organised the protest march to consolidate their appeal to the graduate teachers to resume teaching. Mr Kwame Alorvi, NAGRAT President, told the students that the Association was touched by "this crowd of future leaders in the rain" and promised to relay the concern to the NAGRAT Council, which would meet on Saturday.

The Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) on Thursday invited the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) to join their team to meet the GES. "As partners working together with the same employer, GNAT is, therefore, inviting NAGRAT to participate in a Standing Joint Negotiating Team to meet with Ghana Education Service Management," Mrs Irene Duncan-Adanusa, General Secretary stated at a press conference in Accra.

A reliable source told the Ghana News Agency at Techiman in Brong Ahafo Region, on Saturday that the NAGRAT Council had decided to call off the strike action. The source said the decision was arrived at after lengthy discussions adding that the meeting ended at about 1330 hours but the Leadership of NAGRAT " for obvious reasons decided that a formal announcement should be made at a press conference on Monday, more than 48 hours after the decision had been taken". The source said the Council took the decision to call off the strike in view of the flood of pleas from a cross section of the Ghanaian population and the precarious situation that the strike action had placed the fate of final year Senior Secondary School (SSS) students, who are preparing to write their final examinations.

Source: GNA