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General News of Monday, 25 July 2016

Source: Class FM

Head teachers playing politics with GES – Bettey

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The demeanour of the various head teachers, who recently raised issues of non-payment of subsidies to Senior High Schools by government, betrayed their political game against the Ghana Education Service (GES), Rev. Jonathan Bettey, Public Relations Officer of the GES has said.

On Wednesday July 20, Cecilia Kwakye Coffie, President of the Conference of Heads of Assisted Senior High Schools (CHASS), said at a press conference that CHASS would close down the senior high schools over unpaid subsidies.

She said: “Some of the pressing challenges are unpaid absorbed fees and feeding grants, unpaid Ghana government scholarships, unpaid progressively free scholarship, inadequate feeding fees of GHC3.30 per student per day for three meals, high electricity, water and telephone bills, high expenditure on sanitation and fumigation due to bedbug infestation in schools, non-payment of GoG grant for administration since 2011, and no replacement of retired teaching and non-teaching staff.”

But at a counter press conference, Jacob Kor, Director General of GES said the heads of the various Senior High Schools, who failed to submit data from their respective schools for processing in connection with payment of feeding grants and other subsidies will be sanctioned.

After issuing the threat, the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) lunged at the GES boss saying his threat was misplaced.

GNAT General Secretary, David Ofori Acheampong said: “I think the response of the Director General is unfortunate. When there are problems and the problems are not being resolved, the only avenue is to bring it into the court of public opinion that these are the challenges that confront us… And, so, I believe that that should have rather created the platform for the Director General to have met them to see the way forward – even the plans to pay their moneys. [But] yesterday, you issued threats to say that the people are irresponsible. That is completely unacceptable. Who doesn’t know that the district education offices, which the Director General himself superintends, are less resourced to the extent that most of the directors go to the second cycle schools for A4 paper to do their official work? The Director General himself knows that. Even fuel sometimes to move the regional director’s vehicle, you go soliciting funds from the second cycle schools, but if the people are coming out and they are making genuine concerns known to Ghanaians and you come and rubbish it and say that they don’t have the locus to say that. It is completely unacceptable”.

He added: “…Even [with] the feeding, [in] present day Ghana, you are giving them GHS3.30, we have gone past the era where we have been embarking on nationwide strike because of salaries, but when the logistics we need to use in doing the work are denied us, why should we go and sit in the classroom? We are telling the Director of Ghana Education Service that if it comes to September and these things are not available, we (GNAT) will fully support those (CHASS) as an association.”

But speaking in an interview with Chief Jerry Forson, host of Ghana Yensom on Accra 100.5 FM on Monday July 25, Rev Bettey said: “ I don’t see much problem between GES management and our teachers. They are cooperating…but sometimes also you will realise in their behaviour [or] movement that there are some few politics in their movements against their authorities, which is not the best.”

He continued: “Wherever they are coming from or their minds are coming from, we are not very happy. … [They are] dealing with these issues even though they are teacher unions that will fight for the rights of their members. This is their house, this is their headquarters, if there is something that you think you are not feeling very comfortable with, [we need to dialogue], this is not the time we need to be writing to them again with paper, we need to sit down”.

“If something is not going on well, why not come to your own house? Why not come to your Director General [and] sit with him and say my father or my boss, this is what we are going through. You deal with issues within your own house than dealing with the issues on air as we are doing.

"That is what we are trying to avoid, it is not the best. If you are talking about fumigation or issues in secondary schools, secondary school headmasters are administrators, they are managers of schools, they represent the Director General of the Ghana Education Service…it means that they are also not doing their best…if there is something, come down to your Director General and sit down with him".

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