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Opinions of Friday, 22 May 2020

Columnist: Osumanu Abubakar, Contributor

An open letter to Prof Stephen Adei - The man who laughs when Teachers suffer!

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Good day, Prof. I bring you unadulterated Ramahdan/Edul Fitr greetings. I pray that this holy month of Ramadhan bring you good tidings and extricate you from the flagrant disrespect and unmitigated disdain you have calculatedly reserved for Ghanaian teachers. Finally, may this holy month of Ramadhan disencumber you from the fetters of the inscrutable hatred you hold for Ghanaian teachers.

Prof, it is not for a levity that I have spent time to make these supplications to God in your stead, it is for a unique purpose - the purpose of which you have over the period subjected the hard working teachers of this country to international ignominy for grotesque reasons. My penultimate letter to you was in reference to another bizarre statement you made against teachers, which in reality, saw no light, my ultimate letter to you was another, which in actuality had no legs to stand on. Today, this is being sent to you for the same reason.

We woke up today to the sad news that you are on our necks again. That, government should consider 50% pay cut to teachers, if we continue to stay at home during this pandemic. Incredible! Prof. please for your information, teachers and students alike, missed school greatly. We are not comfortable staying at home this long because we are not used to. Teachers and students want to go back to the classroom. However, unfortunately times are bad. Prof. I am not sure you live on Pluto to be making such a pronouncement. I know you are on Earth with us and you are not oblivious of the havoc this foreign contagion is wreaking on the global stage.

Prof, Ghana not exempted from the contagion, got the President to announce the safety and precautionary measures from experts' point of view, in order to avoid contraction and spreading of the virus. That included the initial closure of forms one (1) and two (2) classes, and the eventual closure of form three (3) class. This in no case, the teachers' wish, rather necessity dictates.

Prof, as it has played out, the virus is showing no sign of a decline and this shouldn't give anybody the fodder to call for resumption of school as this will serve no purpose than to provide the fertility for contraction and spreading of the virus. In fact the PTA council which has oversight responsibility for the safety and welfare of students is against the call to resume school in the era of the exponential rate of infection. How does this become the cause of teacher for which they should bear the brunt. Prof, when a situation like this pandemic is declared as "force majeure" (let the French teachers explain what it means to you), nobody takes any blame because we didn't bring it onto ourselves.

Prof, unlike how 'ill' you think of teachers, make no mistake, to your chagrin, teachers are very smart in reading, compression and reasoning. Mayhap you lack these, and that may account for your unsympathetic and insensitive pronouncements against teachers in this country. I say this on the premise of what the laws clearly talk about remuneration and termination in the letter and spirit of the Labour Act, 2003 (Act 651). Prof, I want to believe that you made that unfortunate call as result of either ignorance of the Labour Act, 2003 (Act 651) or a complete misunderstanding of the Act. Be that as it may, I want you to relax and read section 119 of the Labour Act, 2003 (Act 651) and reflect thereof.

Section 119: Exposure to imminent hazards

119. (1) When a worker finds himself or herself in any situation at the workplace which she or he has reasonable cause to believe presents an imminent and serious danger to his or her life, safety or health, the worker shall immediately report this fact to his or her immediate supervisor and remove himself or herself from the situation.

(2) An employer shall not dismiss or terminate the employment of a worker or withhold any remuneration of a worker who has removed himself or herself from a work situation which the worker has reason to believe presents imminent and serious danger to his or her life, safety or health.

(3) An employer shall not require a worker to return to work in circumstances where there is a continuing imminent and serious danger to the life, safety or health of the worker. Prof., the same act defines what constitutes vacation of post, none of which teachers have violated.

Prof, I believe by now you have realized that you have shot yourself in the foot. Prof, when we were much too young, our parents told us that grey hair signifies wisdom. Please, let your public posture reflect that axiom before we begin to doubt what was told to us. Your incessant act of unjustifiably subjecting teachers to national objurgation and revilement serves no educational purpose. Instead, bring out healthy and well designed surveys or a study that tackle the hydra-headed problems in the education set-up and that will be news.

There are no or inadequate TLMs, no textbooks, poor infrastructure, bad welfare packages et al, are the issues you have to be addressing, rather than pestering the lives of innocent teachers, most of whom are 'killing' themselves extra to better the lives of students.

In the final analysis, Prof., your pronouncements don't only delineate you as an enemy of progress to teachers, it also portrays how simplistic your views on national issues are. I leave it here. Thank you.