THE USEFULNESS OF THE TEACHER UNIONS IN GHANA IS OVER AND AS SUCH THEY MUST BE DISSOLVED IMMEDIATELY.
Unity as they say is strength is no more like that today in the teaching fraternity. Teachers form the largest portion of public sector workers in Ghana and they are the mother of all professionals in the country but the unity amongst them have been shortchanged by a few self-aggrandizing people who claim to be knowledge box thereby making the voiceless teacher struggle and feel regret for the profession.
The main purpose of belonging to a union is to lean on the leadership in times of difficulties, sharing of ideas and above all show solidarity when necessary.
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These among other things necessitated the formation of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) and eventually, all other teachers unions which now numbered up to a reasonable percentage compare to other professions with GNAT been the mother union of all.
These group bylaws are expected to negotiate for the good of its members, help organize training workshops to improve the professional development of the members and also ensure the welfare of all who in one way or the other belongs to them.
These unions serve as a link between the workers and the government or their employer when necessary but what the Ghanaian Teacher sees is totally different.
These unions have now become places where people go to showcase their political colours or ambitions or to make money to the detriment of the poor teacher whose monthly contribution is been used to run the affairs of the union. Leaders of these groups never presented the needs of their members to the employer for redress but rather their own personal interests.
For instance, teachers arrears have now become a legacy debt in the accounts of the Ghana government which could have been avoided if these unions were to be active like others.
Promotion of teachers has become hell as it leads a good number of teachers behind with several issues as well as teachers upgrading. All these were to be championed by the leadership of the unions but the reverse is true.
Most teachers have to contribute money for middlemen to work for them. Certain government policies are washed down to teachers with little or no intervention by these teacher unions. For instance, the new Educational curriculum was introduced in September 2019.
Up till now, no basic school can boast of a single textbook but the leadership of the teacher unions are quiet.
Many teachers graduated years back and now hoping to be upgraded but nothing has been worked on.
In_service teachers filled online forms for their license but nothing good as coming out even payment have to be done to that effect. The leadership of the various teachers have not made an attempt to follow-up
All that these unions can do best is to help negotiate for an unprecedented 4% salary increment for their followers as well as giving out loans to their members. Instituting retirement policies and funeral policies for the suffering teacher who needs money at the moment to solve immediate problems.
One other thing GNAT can do best is to be using members contributions to promote the general Secretary through the regular release of SMS which in effect is not what members want, to declare unnecessary and unwarranted strikes. Until a total revolution is centred on the leadership of these unions, teachers will continue to struggle for ends meet.
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By: AKWOYIRE PATRICK BUGAYIRE