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Opinions of Thursday, 15 October 2020

Columnist: Counsellor Daniel Fenyi

Prof. Opoku-Agyemang must 'reconcile' with teachers before December 7 elections or else

Prof Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang Prof Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang

Counsellor Daniel Fenyi has called on the NDC running mate, Prof Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, to "reconnect" and "reconcile" with Ghanaian teachers before the upcoming elections on December 7.

Counsellor made this revelation on his Facebook where he wrote:

There's something OFF about Prof. Naana and I think she should find it and fix it before December 7. It's quite difficult to put a finger on it, but as Counsellor Daniel Fenyi, I've attempted some explanation of what could possibly be OFF. It's not surprising she's ditched the education sector for the markets, trying to appeal to market women and the feminism world when the education sector should have been her strongest hold. I'm not sure if the 'illiterate' market space would 'connect' with a 'university professor' though.

In my several media and face-to-face engagements in political discourses with teachers, none sound positive towards Naana (apart from the minority NDC card bearing teachers). To put it undecoratedly, she does not appeal to the average Ghanaian teacher (as a politician).

Teachers feel she messed up the education sector. Their misgivings are deep rooted, not only for her poor performance, but also because she is a teacher herself and many expected her to represent the interests of teachers better, just as the late Prof Atta Mills fairly did. Interestingly, the teacher apathy towards Naana runs across all levels and categories of teachers- basic, secondary and tertiary teachers, and even trainee teachers in Colleges.

Under her, some teachers worked for 2/3 years and received only 3 months salary. Nursing and trainee teacher allowances were cancelled. Blatant freeze was put on teacher recruitment. But for God, Naana nearly cancelled the Book and Research Allowance (BRA) for lecturers as if she didn't know it's relevance. In fact, she made it look like lecturers don't conduct any research but just "chop" the money when she (as a university professor) should have known better. Even chalk became a topic for NATIONAL discussion.

Fixing the OFF

Naana should make conscious efforts to appeal, reconnect and 'reconcile' with teachers by

1. making SPECIFIC commitments on what she intends to do for teachers in terms of employment, salaries, allowances and pensions.

2. telling lecturers whether the BRA, in its current form, will be maintained, increased, or removed.

3. coming clear on teacher trainees; their allowance and postings.