Parents and indeed Ghanaians in general, yesterday woke up to the news about a nationwide strike by the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT).
We appreciate the critical role of teachers in the development of the country which they discharge under myriad challenges.
The challenges notwithstanding, we would have wished for a situation where all avenues for redress are exploited before embarking on a nationwide strike. It is instructive though that the downing of tools by the teachers was even dead on arrival – the disclosure by government explained it all yesterday.
How come the payments over which they announced the strike have been transmitted to their accounts already without their knowledge? The leadership of the association, we are told, has unfettered access to the education authorities and could have discussed outstanding obligations without putting the nation on a short-lived yet painful stress.
We are in a polarized country where most actions are regarded with political lenses. We would therefore plead that a different approach is used for addressing challenges with the education authorities.
Education, especially at the senior high school level, has been the subject of various propaganda stints against the backdrop of the free SHS policy of the government. The policy, still in its infantile stage, should be spared such pranks so that the full benefits would accrue to the nation.
Ours is not out to ruffle the teachers but then the overall picture of the education in the country is not something we should toy with – hence our concern.
Examinations are about to commence for final year SHS students. It could only be imagined what the effect of the nationwide strike would have exacted on the examination candidates across the country. Those who planned the strike which never was any way, it can be concluded, sought to visit maximum damage on the system and we are saddened that such a mischievous plot could be hatched at this time.
We are avoiding the thought being peddled that the long hands of some mischievous persons with sinister motives were involved in plotting the botched strike.
Ghana has come a long way in fashioning out a new educational arrangement that seeks to bring schooling at the level of SHS to all Ghanaian children irrespective of the socio-economic status of their parents.
Teachers and other stakeholders alike must join hands in ensuring that avoidable disruptions do not have a place in the manner we do things.
The idea of giving the free SHS a bad name, had the strike come on at all, is such a wicked plot and we are all relieved that all is clear now.
Both parties – teachers and government, must trust each other in the overall interest of education in the country. Our human resource base depends on quality education and so no impediment such as undue delay in paying teachers should be entertained. When challenges are envisaged, communication should be used to address same. Teachers on the other hand, through their association, should be mindful about the national interest even as we respect their concerns too.