It’s been over three weeks since lecturers at the nation’s polytechnics embarked on strike to press home their demands. And this means that activities on campuses of the various polytechnics have been stalled for the semester with students packing their bags and baggage home.
Others including final year students who cannot pack home are in a state of suspense as their fate hangs in the balance. They are anxiously waiting on government of President John Dramani Mahama to address the concerns of their striking lecturers who have sworn Heaven and hell not to return to the classrooms until their concerns are addressed.
But unfortunately government acting through the National Labour Commission (NLC,) has not seen the need to address the concerns of the striking lecturers. They have instead taken it upon themselves to argue it out with the leadership of the Polytechnic Teachers Association (POTAG) at the law courts on the legality or otherwise of their strike.
This way the NLC hopes to compel the lecturers to return to the lecture theatres and continue with teaching. Experience should however tell the NLC that they are engaging in fruitless ventures and proffering the wrong antidote to the striking problem.
What the NLC must do, as a matter of urgency, is to call on the government to make good his promises of bettering the lives of lecturers at the polytechnics. I am adding my voice to calls for the government to pay heed and attend to the problems of the polytechnics which are helping to educate a large chunk of the nation’s youth.
However, I blame the student leadership for the prolonged strike which undeniably is leading to the termination of a whole semester educational activities and also placing in the balance, the destiny of tens of thousands of students financed by poor parents. My blame stems from the division that the various student unions on campuses have allowed in their midst causing politicians to always have their way in their dealings with them.
Had they been united and expressed their readiness to fight a common cause, which is to ensure that their colleagues have their concerns addressed, it would have been impossible for governments to always look down upon their lecturers. They should bow their heads in shame and let this call be a wake up one for them to be up and doing and champion the cause of their students.
I am not in any way calling for the organisation of demonstrations to back the demands of their lecturers as has been done in previous years including the days of Osafo Maafo was an Education Minister. I am only alerting them on their dormancy which is becoming a choking silence. They should act as kings once they have been made one and stop tiptoeing along with politicians.
This notwithstanding, I am of the opinion that the time is up for government to act with the same alacrity it does when it comes to addressing the problems of other unions like the University Teachers Association (UTAG). For I believe government should not be biased to any teacher organisation or any union as they all offer the same amount of service for the forward- march of the country.
GRANT unto POTAG what is POTAG’s and unto UTAG what is their due. Mahama wake up because the nation’s educational sector is sinking!