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General News of Wednesday, 6 July 2022

Source: starrfm.com.gh

Your 20% COLA demand unrealistic – Africa Education Watch to Teacher Unions

Policy Analyst with Africa Education Watch, Divine Kpe Policy Analyst with Africa Education Watch, Divine Kpe

Africa Education Watch has said the 20% Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) demand by the Teacher Unions is unrealistic.

The Education Think Tank says even though the demand is legitimate considering the country’s current economic situation, the teachers must meet the government halfway.

“How inflation is affecting food and goods I believe the 20% indeed is legitimate but if you look at it the situation that the government finds itself to the extent of having to go to the IMF for a bailout. They (teachers) will have to be circumspect with what we also want from the government.

“I mean that the 20% Cost of Living Allowance that they are demanding for the government may not be able to meet that. Therefore, they have to meet the government halfway,” the Policy Analyst with the Africa Education Watch, Divine Kpe told Starr News.

He continued “We do not want the situation whereby this strike will make students be at home as seen during the covid era. We don’t want to see students sitting home any longer given the fact that during COVID-19 school closure has taken away a lot of student learning time.”

Teacher Unions on strike

Four teacher unions on Monday, July 4, 2022, declared a strike in demand of payment of 20% Cost of Living Allowance.

It comes after NAGRAT indicated their decision to commence strike if the government does not act on their demand for Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) by end of June 2022.

Meanwhile, the Minority in Parliament has asked the Ghana Education Service (GES) to close down all public basic schools if the government fails to address concerns of striking teachers within three days.

Speaking to journalists in Parliament Deputy Ranking Member for Committee on Education, Dr. Clement Apaak charged the government to immediately address the concerns of the teachers.

“As we speak today close to seven million students from kindergarten through primary school to junior high school and secondary schools are currently not benefiting from teaching and learning. Clearly, this is the result of the government’s inability to meet its obligation and be proactive in addressing the needs and demands of labour unions including the teachers.

“We have seen a circular from the Ghana Education Service directing managers of schools to take control of the safety and security of students. Clearly, that cannot be enough if you consider that one head teacher alone cannot take care and secure the safety of an entire school,” Builsa South MP disclosed.

“So we want to urge the government to immediately address the concerns of teachers. So that they can go back to the classrooms without further delay. If this goes on within two to three days it will be advisable for the GES to direct that the schools are closed down for the safety and security of the students.”

The Deputy Ranking Member further stated that despite the call by the Minority side, it is incumbent on the government to address the needs of the teachers.

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