Education Think Tank, Africa Education Watch, thinks the teacher unions could not have chosen a worse time to lay down their tools.
The think tank is worried that the strike will affect academic work, especially ahead of the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) and the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
Executive Director of Africa Education Watch, Kofi Asare on the Citi Breakfast Show on Thursday said “I think the timing of the strike is not the best for the calendar of the pre-tertiary sector. Covid-19 already derailed the academic calendar, such that the academic year now starts in January instead of September. We are already months late, and we need to realign and reset our calendar in line with the sub-region.”
“BECE and WASSCE are at the corner, and having a strike at this time can affect the conduct. WAEC relies on teachers for invigilation, and it will be impossible to hold the examination. Aside from that, the teachers will have to b around to prepare the students adequately for the examination,” he added.
He called on government to, as a matter of urgency, try to meet the demands of the teachers halfway, so they can return to work.
“What government is saying now is it does not have money. Taking that posture won’t help matters. It will not help calm nerves. We need to do all we can to preserve the academic calendar.”
“It is important that government at least offers the teachers something in the interim. If negotiations lead to government proposing a little over 10% and not the 20%, that will help.”
The unions currently on strike are the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), Teachers and Educational Workers Union (TEWU), and Coalition of Concerned Teachers (CCT).
The teachers are fighting for the payment of between 20% and 30% of their salaries as a Cost of Living Allowance.
The allowance according to the teachers will cushion them from current economic conditions and the worsening plight of teachers.
The government is expected to negotiate again with the unions over the ongoing strike.
Mr. Carbounu was hopeful the second round of negotiations will motivate the teacher unions to call off their strike.
“I hope Wednesday’s meeting will arrive at a concrete answer to the demands that we have made, and not appeal to us that it is in the pipeline.”