Close to the famous Oda River stands the Esereso D/A Primary School, located along Lake Road in the Bosomtwe District of the Ashanti Region. It is still and quiet and the buildings remain shut despite a directive by the Ghana Education Service (GES) to keep schools open in the wake of a strike by pre-tertiary teacher unions.
Parents like 53-year-old Akua Afriyie have just been asked to take their children back home.
“I came with my ward around 6 a.m. I thought the teachers were still around but when I came I was told they had boycotted class because of the strike”, Afriyie, who sells ice cream near the school told dailymailgh.com. “So she will have to join me sell our product otherwise there will be no supper and you know things are difficult these days.”
“This strike normally occurs when pupils are about to write exams”, another parent Joshua Ameyaw said. “This is unfair and it is sad this has occurred in the Education Minister’s constituency. He represents us in parliament and so we are pleading with him for an urgent intervention”.
Industrial unrest is regular among teacher unions in Ghana. The teachers are this time calling for the immediate removal of Dr. Eric Nkansah, the new acting Director General of the Ghana Education Service who took over from Prof. Kwasi Opoku Amankwa.
According to the teachers, Dr. Nkansah does not qualify for the GES’ top job.
“The Brouhaha about the dismissal of the DG of GES, Prof Opoku Amankwa, and other issues affecting the education service that we were dealing with Prof Opoku Amankwa (to resolve), have come to a halt. We will like to say that the recent dismissal and the subsequent appointment of the new DG of the GES is sad.
“It is sad in the sense that the argument is being made to make it appear that there’s nobody in the education space who has the set of skills needed and is capable enough to be appointed as DG of GES. We are told that the Minister for Education informed the presidency that the set of skills of the just dismissed DG of GES is no longer required. It beats one’s imagination how the skills of an educationist are not needed in the management of education but that of a banker is?” the Unions had lamented in a statement.
Is the situation different in some schools?
But the situation appears different in some basic schools. Some of the teachers who spoke to dailymailgh.com said they will have to make up for the minutes lost as exams were at bay.
For me, I am teaching, this strike is needless”, a teacher who wanted to be anonymous told dailymailgh.com. “What change did Opoku Amankwah bring when he was in office? This new face is bringing anything different, besides he will not be in the classroom to teach”.
“I came purposely to end my syllabus because the exam is just around the corner and students need to learn. And so I will continue to be here but we are still waiting for any new directive so that we resume fully”, another said.
Talks in stalemate
The National Labour Commission (NLC) is expected to meet the striking teachers later today (Wednesday) to resolve the impasse. This comes after earlier meetings between their leaders and the government representatives ended inconclusively.
But even before that happens school children have these messages to the government.
“For these politicians, their children are not in Ghana’s public schools. That’s why they appear unconcerned. We just live in a crazy world. Dr. Adutwum should help us”, a pupil said.
The teachers have vowed not to return to the classroom if the appointment of Dr. Eric Nkansah is not revoked. Experts say the fate of over 6 million students hangs in a balance warning of a looming institutional crisis if the government does not intervene.
SOURCE: DAILY MAIL GH