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General News of Thursday, 2 November 2006

Source: GNA

Classrooms in Accra still empty

Accra, Nov. 2, GNA - Many classrooms in the second cycle educational institutions in the Accra Metropolis are still empty because striking teachers have refused to comply with the court order to end their industrial action.

The teachers, who are mostly members of the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) have declared their intention to challenge the court's decision maintaining that until their demands were met, the strike would continue.

A visit by the Ghana News Agency to some of the schools found the classroom empty as no single teacher was found though the students should be preparing for their final exams scheduled for mid next year. At the Accra High School, most students were loitering, while a few were trying to make use of the time by learning on their own. Master Gerald Markin, final year technical skills students said the situation was having a telling effect on learning, since teachers were not available to teach or guide them and were left to their fate to make the best out of the crisis.

'We are only revising, while others who can afford are attending extra classes, he added.

The Acting Assistant Head Mistress of the school, Mrs Agnes Asi Kodua urged government to reconsider its entrenched position and make some compromises to resolve the impasse, saying the students have relaxed in their studies due to the strike action and that was a threat to their future.

She said utterances expressed by government and a section of the public were not helping to mitigate the situation since teachers who wanted to sacrifice were now aggrieved and had thrown in the towel.

Mrs Kodua noted that the retired teachers who were purported to be recruited suffered the same plight and were therefore not ready to teach, adding that most of them were working with private schools and are earning better wages.

Mrs. Cecelia Boateng, a teacher at the school said the situation was such that many teachers were only running about to earn monies through other means because they could not live on their present remunerations.

The situation was not different at the St. Thomas Acquinas Secondary School where students also were spotted loitering and others learning on their own.

At the Labone Secondary School, the teachers gathered in the staff common room, while the students were in the classrooms idling. Miss Else Abbey, final year student said, 93we are trying our best to learn on our own and attend extra classes as well.=94