Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Blackouts/Teachers strike- taking toll on final year students

Story: Hadiza Nuhhu-Billa Quansah
 Pupils and students across the country are having serious challenges . While the rampant blackouts in most parts of the country are taking a toll on academic work, teachers have also worsened matters by embarking on a strike.
 As a result of the frequent power cuts, students, especially those who are preparing to write the West African Secondary School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) and the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) are having challenges studying at night.
Currently, members of the two main teacher organisations - Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) and the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) - are  also staying away from the classrooms in protest against what they say is discrimination by the government in the payment of their entitlements.
The teachers are calling for the payment of their maintenance allowance, which they say had not been paid  for over 15 months.
Visits by the Junior Graphic to some senior high schools in Accra: Labone SHS, St Thomas Aquinas, PRESEC Osu and Accra High School, revealed that most of the teachers did not report to school at all, while the few that reported at some of the SHSs did not teach. Some sat in groups unders trees while others relaxed in their cars chatting heartily.
When the Junior Graphic visited the Nima Cluster of Schools, Independence Avenue, Kanda Cluster of Schools, among others, most of the students  were not aware  of the strike so they had turned out in their numbers. While others quickly returned home in excitement, after they were told about the strike, others stayed to play  with their friends.
Schools that were scheduled to write  their end of term examination had to postpone it to a later date.
 Final-year students  who are preparing for the WASSCE seem to be very disturbed over the strike action as some of them are currently undertaking their final practical in Visual Arts, Home Economics, Food and Nutrition, Clothing and Textiles, Music, Arabic, French and English Orals.
The Deputy Director-General of the Ghana Education, Stephen Adu, in an interview said it was very unfortunate that teachers were on strike at the 11th hour when their students needed them most. He, however, explained that his outfit was  fast-tracking the necessary administrative work to ensure that outstanding issues were quickly addressed so that the strike was not prolonged.

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