Deputy Ranking Member on the Education Committee in Parliament, Dr Clement Apaak

The Deputy Ranking Member on the Education Committee, Clement Apaak has urged government to shut down schools if the strike by teacher unions over payment of 20% Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) continues beyond two days.

Speaking on the floor of Parliament on Tuesday, Dr. Clement Apaak advised government to pay heed to his caution if they cannot meet the demands of the striking teachers.

According to him, when this is done, it will ensure students’ safety and security while their teachers are on strike.

His comment comes after the Ghana Education Service (GES) in a statement directed Heads of Senior High Schools to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all students in schools. 

Regional and  District Directors are to ensure Basic School Heads keep schools open and closely supervise all children who report to school pending further directives from the Management of GES.

Reacting to this directive, Mr. Apaak stated that “it cannot be enough.”

According to him, “one teacher alone cannot take care and secure the safety of an entire school.”

He, therefore urged the government to address the concerns of the teachers so they call off the strike, adding that “ultimately government bears the responsibility to ensure that the needful is done so that the teachers can go back to the classroom.”

Background

Four teacher unions declared an indefinite nationwide strike – effective Monday, July 4 – over demands for the payment of the Cost of Living Allowance (COLA).

The unions, comprising the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), the Teachers and Educational Workers Union (TEWU) and the Coalition of Concerned Teachers Ghana (CCT), are demanding that the 20% of their basic salary be paid to them.

They have blamed their industrial action on government’s failure to pay the COLA, which they argue could have helped to mitigate the impact of the rising cost of living.

But after a June 30 deadline was exhausted, the workers have withdrawn their services, both in and outside the classroom.