Withdraw arbitrary & imposed extension of instructional hours in schools – GNAT to GES

Director-General of GES Prof. Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa
Director-General of GES Prof. Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa

The Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) says, the decision to extend instructional hours in Public Basic Schools as directed by the Municipal Director of Education for New Juaben South, in the Eastern Region is arbitrary and an imposition on teachers and must be withdrawn with immediate effect.

According to the largest teacher Union, the directive has violated the current Collective Agreement and Code of Conduct for Staff of the Ghana Education Service (GES) as signed in 2017 between teacher unions and GES.

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The letter written to the Director-General of the Ghana Education Service Professor Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa by Mr. Thomas Tanko Musah, the General Secretary of GNAT said, the Union’s attention has been drawn to a circular from the Municipal Director of Education, New Juaben South, in the Eastern Region, titled: TO ALL HEADS OF PUBLIC SCHOOLS: EXTENSION OF INSTRUCTIONAL HOURS IN ALL PUBLIC BASIC SCHOOLS.

The letter has informed the Heads that Instructional hours in all public Basic Schools in the Municipality at all levels have been extended, with the schools to now start classes at 8.00 hours GMT, and close at 15.00 hours GMT, effective Monday, 23 August, 2021 until otherwise directed.

GNAT said, they find this directive unacceptable, and against the letter and spirit of Article 3.3 of the Code of Conduct for Staff of the Ghana Education Service specifically,

a) Article 3.3(i) which reads: Working hours per day shall be as prescribed by Law,

b) Article 3.3(ii): Contact hours for staff and time for reporting for duty shall be determined through negotiations by GES and the Unions, and

Article 3.3 (iv): A staff may be required to work beyond the required time in certain circumstances to be determined by the head, or GES and the Unions.

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The Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) further argued that, the circular offends Section 13 of the Collective Agreement for Staff within the Ghana Education Service (GES), August, 2020, specifically,

Section 13.2 which stipulates that: All other conditions of Work shall be determined by a Joint Negotiating Committee, made up of ten (10) persons each from the Govermment Team and the Union.

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They include:

1. Hours of work, Contact hours.

“We again make reference to the Press Statement o the Pre-tertiary Education Unions (GNAT, NAGRAT and CCT-GH), of 10 August, 2021, and the item on Contact and Working Hours, in which we reminded the Ghana Education Service, that the hours teachers are required to work per day and per week should be determined by the Ghana Education Service and the Teacher Unions, as required by the Collective Agreement.” The letter said.

READ MORE: Collective Agreement between GES and Teacher Unions in Education Service

“We are not sure whether the directive is general for all schools across the country, or an initiative of the New Juaben South Directorate of Education on its own accord, and for whatever reason.

“Whatever it is, the Ghana National Association of Teachers, GNAT, finds it a breach of Union trust and practice, within the context of the Code of Conduct for staff of the Ghana Education Service (GES), both documents being the regulatory frameworks for education in the country.”

“In the light of the above, we find the directive arbitrary and an imposition, since it has not arisen out of any consultations between the concerned parties (1.e. the Ghana Education Service and the Unions). We therefore call for its immediate withdrawal and to serve notice that any attempt to force it on teachers would be resisted fiercely.” GNAT said.

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According to Thomas Tanko Musah, the Association hopes the Ghana Education Service would see reason, and listen to them accordingly, to engender industrial peace in the country.

The Association has also made reference to key documents as enclosed in the letter to ease and support their argument. The attached documents includes, photocopies of the relevant stipulations of the Code ot Conduct for the Staff of the Ghana Education Service, the Collective Agreement tor Teaching Staff within the Ghana Education Service (GES), portion of
the Press Statement referred to, and the circular from the New Juaben South Directorate of Education.

SOURCE: Coverghana.com.gh

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