Minister of State-in-charge of Tertiary Education, Professor Kwesi Yankah, has urged striking teachers of Colleges of Education to return to the classrooms as their grievances with market premium and research allowances are being addressed amicably.
The Minister, who was addressing a ceremony to mark the 70th Anniversary of the Mount Mary College of Education, Somanya, said the Government was committed to their welfare, and was mindful that the dialogue between their leadership and the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission was ongoing, and neither had the talks broken down.
Prof Yankah represented the Senior Minister, Mr Yaw Osafo Marfo, at the event, as the Guest of Honour.
Members of the Colleges of Education Teachers Association of Ghana (CETAG) have embarked on a strike over the past weeks over their welfare and the related mothers.
“On Friday, November, 9, the Minister of State in-charge of Tertiary Education with the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, representatives from the Ministry of Finance, National Council for Tertiary Education, Fair Wages and Salaries Commission, met the executives of CETAG,” he informed them.
“Considerable progress has been made and a technical committee has been tasked to within a matter of 10 days, produce negotiated figures and compensation packages that truly befit the status of Colleges of Education as tertiary institutions.
“…Naturally, a strike declared whilst negotiations are still ongoing is unfair to Government, and unfair to students, who have reported to school otherwise excited and indeed anxious to experience educational reforms that are going to uplift the standard and quality of basic education, and give a solid foundation to Ghana’s human resource profile”.
Their action, he said, was aimed at a good cause, but the due processes of negotiations in line with the Labour Law had to be followed.
The conversion of Teacher Training Colleges into Colleges of Education as satellite campuses of universities, and the introduction of degree programmes at such colleges, categorise them under the tertiary sector.
It is in line with this that teachers of such colleges are demanding market premiums and other compensations enjoyed by University lecturers.
Prof Yankah emphasised the relevance of French Education and Language Studies in Ghana as the country was surrounded by French speaking countries in West Africa. “President Akufo -Addo’s vision and initiative is to ensure that the teaching and learning of French becomes as an integral part of the teaching curriculum, which focuses attention on this College where teachers of French are trained for our basic schools,” he said.
“This will require radical reforms for Ghana to position itself to ensure greater mobility among ECOWAS nations to expedite wealth creation”.
The College was established by the American Catholic SVD Missionaries at Agomanya, in 1947.
Prof Yankah said he was impressed with the College’s role in French Education in Ghana, as well as the ecology of the area.
He advised the teachers in colleges of education not to undercut the ongoing reforms in teacher education, but go back to school to make their students proud.
“This particular Government attaches a lot of importance to teachers, and recognises the unique role of teachers in nation building,” he said.