A teacher union, known as All Teachers Alliance Ghana (ATAG), has announced its decision to embark on a demonstration to express its displeasure over the deduction of GHS 509 from the teachers’ professional development allowance for the payment of the government’s one-teacher one laptop policy.
The demonstration, slated for December 15, 2021, seeks to draw the attention of the Ghana Education Service to immediately refund the deducted money.
According to the association, the deduction is being done without recourse to a court process seeking to halt the distribution.
The General Secretary of All Teachers Alliance Ghana, Albert Dadson Amoah, in an interview said “on 15th December 2021, they should prepare for us. Teachers are minimizing themselves. We want to use this forum to call on GES once again to immediately refund the GHS 509 to teachers.”
“Besides, there are some GES workers who are not teachers, there are the cleaners, cooks, etc. Some earn as little as GHS 700 and the government has gone ahead to deduct GHS 509 from their salaries. How are these people expected to survive?”
He lamented that GES has “disrespected teachers for so long, and they are going to stage a demonstration to protest this decision.”
Meanwhile, the Founder of the Innovative Teachers Association Ghana, Stephen Desu, says the decision by ATAG and other teacher unions to embark on a demonstration is unnecessary since there is a pending court case on the matter.
“We will concentrate on the court issue and not waste our time demonstrating. We disagree with the step they intend to take.”
Under the One teacher, One laptop policy, the government required that teachers pay 30 percent of the cost of GHS 1,550 through deductions from their salaries while it paid 70 percent.
Read their statement released on 2nd December, 2021 below:
ALL TEACHERS ALLIANCE GHANA (ATAG)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
TM1 LAPTOPS AND MATTERS ARISING
Good morning ladies and gentlemen of the press herein gathered.
We wish to welcome you all to this very important Press Conference and also to thank you for your prompt response to our call.
It has come to our attention that despite court action instituted by All Teachers Alliance Ghana teachers’ money had been deducted without recourse to court proceedings. This has come as a shock to us since the original hearing of the interlocutory injunction filed on the 10th of November, 2021 on the stay of distribution and deduction of teachers’ PDA of the TM1 laptops had been rescheduled for hearing on the 14th December, 2021.
It is with this that we think we must question the attitude of GES towards their dealings with teachers in this country. Everything points to the fact enough stakeholders consultations were not done into procuring laptops for teachers. What’s more worrying is the fact that certain questions surrounding the sole sourcing procurement as well as the quality of the laptops are yet to be answered fully by GES and MOE.
A lot of teachers are not happy about this development and have raised genuine concerns about how GES has authorized the deduction of the laptops’ fee from the November professional development allowance. What’s more worrying is that the majority of teachers especially basic school teachers are yet to receive the laptops. Does the question now beckon how teachers could be deducted before providing them with laptops?
It is very imperative to let the public know that per the contract entered in by GES, Teacher Unions (GNAT, NAGRAT and CCT) and KA Technologies GH Ltd, many things stand questionable in the manner that’s unsatisfactory to the dignity and welfare of teachers in this country.
We in ATAG do not think membership of the three unions is a guarantee to doing the right thing or serving the best interest of teachers in this country. We believe that teachers’ true welfare had been relegated in the arrangements leading to the procurement and distribution of the TM1 laptops. The ₵1200 paid to teachers by the government is to be used to attend pieces of training not to acquire laptops for teachers as their personal properties.
We are calling on GES to refund the GH₵509 deducted from teachers PDA to teachers immediately to enable teachers to attend workshops organized next year.
The provisions in Ghana’s Labour Act (69 (1)(2a/b)(3)(4)) are clear enough when it comes to the deduction of money from the salaries of employees. We, therefore, caution whoever is in hurry to force unpopular laptops brand unto teachers to tread cautiously because we will continue to resort to the laws of the land to demand what’s right in the best interest of teachers in this country.
We want to call on all Ghanaian teachers to reject the laptops being distributed by the District education directorate in respect of their rights so long as issues surrounding the laptops are yet to be fully resolved.
At all material times, the pre-tertiary teacher had suffered in the hands of GES and MOE and we believe the time is now for teachers to rise above unprofessional treatment and demand for their rightful place as trained professionals. We will continue to register our displeasure through any legal means and even with picketing at GES in the coming days when they fail to heed our call of putting the interest of the ordinary teacher first against the interest of a few intellectual opportunists.
Albert Dadson Amoah
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