Our 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.
Informing 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, 23rd August, 2021, until otherwise directed.
We 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
c) 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.
Further, 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 Government Team and the Union. They include: (i) Hours of work, Contact hours…
We again make reference to the Press Statement of the Pre-tertiary Education Unions (GNAT, NAGRAT and CCT-Gh), of 10th 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.
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 (i.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.
We hope the Ghana Education Service would see reason, and listen to us accordingly, to engender industrial peace in the country.
For ease of reference, enclosed, please find, photocopies of the relevant stipulations of the Code of Conduct for the Staff of the Ghana Education Service, the Collective Agreement for 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.
Please treat as urgent!
Thomas Tanko Musah General Secretary
Ce: The National Officers, GNAT