General News of Sunday, 24 August 2014
A member of the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) and the Head of the Finance Department, Ghana Business School, Godfred Bokpin, says lecturers do not take delight in reneging on their duties to the detriment of their students.
According to him, contrary to public perception, UTAG members are eager to get back to work.
“I’m not too sure I’m so happy being at home, I want to go and teach and I’m ready… and I am not too sure we delight in being at home,” he said.
UTAG members about a month ago withdrew their services to demand the payment of research and book allowance from government.
Their strike was preceded by that of Polytechnic teachers who had also laid their tools three months ago.
The strike has forced the University of Ghana and Polytechnics across the country to remain closed until the impasse between the two associations and government is resolved.
Bokpin on Citi FM’s The Big Issue remarked that UTAG members were hoping for an early resolution to the matter, but that has not taken place.
“We sincerely hoped that this thing could be resolved as quickly as possible. I want to go and teach, but a principle has to be followed,” he said.
Explaining UTAG’s entrenched position taken on the issue, he said it is imperative for the money to be paid because “I want to go and do research, I want my teaching to reflect the research that I’m doing, I want to be able to buy books, I want to be able to go for a conference and get some support because it is expensive.”
“There are some things you can get for free on the internet and there are some things that are not free,” he added.
Bokpin admitted that their prolonged strike is disrupting the academic calendar saying, “I agree, it is not the best. We love our students, we love our country and we have to move forward.”
He however implored government to move urgently by remitting them their research and book allowance.
Regarding the freezing of their August salary by the government, Bokpin said, “it shouldn’t be the order of the day.”
According to him, UTAG members “don’t want to be paid so much for us to be at home and the employer shouldn’t pay so much only for the employee to be at home so it is not good enough to really say that don’t pay the striking workers.”
He added that “it’s good to advise the cat and maybe it’s also good to advise the stinking fish.”
Bokpin also appealed to the general public not to wrongly accuse the lecturers of inconsideration without accessing both sides of the situation.
“I’m very sure that if you look into it, you will find something to sympathize with Unions and if you look at it, you will find something to sympathize with government so we need to look at all the angles,” he remarked.