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Regional News of Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Source: GNA

B/A NAGRAT advocates improved salaries for teachers

Sunyani (B/A), Feb. 27, GNA- The Brong-Ahafo Regional Secretariat of Ghana National Association of Teachers (NAGRAT), called on government to as a matter of urgency, improve upon the salaries of teachers, pending the implementation of the proposed single spine salary structure.

The NAGRAT expressed concern about the high cost of living in the face of astronomical increases in utility bills, fuel prices and the general cost of living, which according to the group were becoming unbearable for the average teacher. Mr Raphael Kwame Owusu, Regional Chairman, said these at a press conference in Sunyani on Wednesday, which was attended by all zonal NAGRAT chairmen in the region.

He said the focus of the groups agitation was to make the teaching profession attractive and a job of choice and to minimize the brain drain that had bedeviled the education sector. Mr Owusu said "These cannot be labeled as anti-government, rebellious or nuisance, as some sections of the populace seem to portray NAGRAT."

He said NAGRAT was fed up with the "feet-dragging attitude" of government and all stakeholders in the education sector as far as issues bothering teachers' welfare were concerned. Mr. Owusu alleged there had been a calculated process of marginalization of teachers, especially graduate teachers by government.

Mr Owusu expressed regret about the distortions in the current salary structure in the education structure and the non-payment of frozen October 2006 salaries to members. He recalled that in the heat of the NAGRAT industrial strike in October 2006, government announced at a press conference that by January, 2007, teachers would be smiling when the new salary scheme based on the principles of equal work and equal pay was implemented. Mr Owusu said unfortunately for two years now that proposed new salary scheme was yet to see the light of the day.

He said pending the implementation of the new scheme, the entire Brong-Ahafo NAGRAT council of graduate teachers and the entire teachers in the country were calling on government to do something about salaries before the situation got out of hand," Mr Owusu said graduate teachers in the region had resolved to put on red bands in October every year to remind the public of the unfair treatment meted to teachers by the government. He called for the implementation of the report of the Bediako Commission appointed by the government over the CAP-30 and the SNNIT pension schemes.

Mr Owusu entreated the NAGRAT national secretariat to be more proactive and to use legitimate means to resolve issues affecting teachers. He commended media practitioners in the region for supporting teachers on issues bothering their salaries teachers and other personnel in the education sector. 27 Feb 08

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