Accra, June 5, GNA - Mr Michael Austen Kugblenu, Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), Accra Metro West Chairman has charged teachers to set good examples for students to emulate.
He said teachers as role models of students should religiously apply themselves to the tenets of their calling and profession.
Mr Kugblenu was addressing the delegates at the Fourth Quadrennial Delegates’ Conference of the Association in the Accra Metro West Secretariat in Accra.
The theme for the conference was: “GNAT at 90, Surviving as a Reliable and Vibrant Teacher Union in the 21st Century: The Role of the Teacher”.
He said the power of teachers was in their collective action and the only way they could fight dictatorial policies, exploitations, marginalization and regain the respect and the good old days' image from the society.
The Chairman called on the government to without further delay provide the Ghanaian teachers with clothing allowances, rent allowances, research allowance and other benefits.
He said, “The teacher is equally an important tool in our national development aspirations, hence, must be given his due of the national cake. The teacher also deserves the ex-gratia.”
He said the apparent growing agitations and perceptions of the grassroots teacher that the Union leadership was compromised during salary negotiations, hence, did not champion aspirations of the ordinary man should be seriously dealt with to prevent the current momentum it was gaining.
This perception, he said, should change with a change in the attitude of leadership and change the unacceptable phenomenon growing among teachers with respect to their attitude towards work.
Mr Lolih Ransford Kofi Nsiah, GNAT Greater Accra Regional Chairman, reading a speech on behalf of GNAT President said the Conference aimed to take stock of the past four years, and plan ahead.
He said issues concerning the non-payment of Responsibility Allowances, delays in upgrading, Salary Arrears, and others were being pursued vigorously by the Teacher Unions.
Mr Nsiah said templates have been submitted to all District Education Offices for collation of such data, for validation and payment.
He said, GNAT had fully purchased the Sweden Ghana Medical Centre at Ashaley Botwe near Madina, with the desire of the leadership to expand the scope of treatment of other diseases and make the place a one-stop-shop for health and subsequently, develop the place into an ultra-modern teacher's Hospital.
The treatment of cancer he said was expensive but due to the GHC2.00 monthly contribution per member to the Cancer Fund, members have been treated free of charge.
“The biggest challenge, however, is that the current monthly contributions are woefully inadequate so we should start exploring new ways of sustaining the Fund to save members suffering from cancer,” he added.
Mr Agustus Owusu–Agyemfra, Director of Education for Ayawaso Central who delivered a speech on behalf of the Directors of Education in Accra Metro West, appealed to the Unions to consider taking the funding of in-service training to build the capacity of the members.
“Some teachers hardly ever get the opportunity to attend in-service training after they come out from the Training Colleges,” he said.
He commended the contributions of the past and present executives for their numerous and impressive contributions as well as the support, given to Education Offices and some schools.
Mr Kwame Boni, Former GNAT Lawyer said with the formation of Teacher Unions in this country particularly from 1931, the teaching profession began on the path of gradual advancement, which made it possible for teachers to raise their heads above waters.
Mr Boni said for GNAT to remain relevant in the development scheme of the nation and also more importantly to maintain its lead role in teacher or industrial unionism in the country and globally, it had to develop a robust marketing strategy.
He advised the leaders to examine themselves and develop qualities of good leaders including knowledge, empathy, trustworthiness, honesty, dedication, patience and tolerance.
He appealed to teachers to continue learning to be able to train and impart knowledge unto all children in the country.
At the end of the Conference, Mr Michael Austen Kugblenu and Mr William Yitah were elected Chairman and Vice Chairman respectively, while Mr Emmanuel Nyavor and Mr George Appiah Anane were elected Treasurer and Trustee respectively.
The rest were Mr Evans Adjaho, Youth Coordinator, Madam Salome N. Gyrinye, GNATLAS Coordinator, Mr Agyapong Agyamfra, Education Office Representative, Mr John Mensah, Second Cycle Representative, Joseph N.A. Addy, Basic School Representative and Mr Emmanuel Asem, Technical Representative.