POTAG criticise Education Minister for ‘not respecting them’

Members of the Polytechnic Teachers Association of Ghana (POTAG) have criticized Education Minister Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh for “not respecting them.”

They say revealed also that their book and research allowances have not being paid despite promises by government it would do so.

Addressing a press conference in Takoradi Monday, National Chairman of the Association, Emmanuel Agyemang said, “All attempts to meet the Minister has never materialised as he seems to be avoiding us.

“His outfit keeps on rescheduling meeting appointments but has the time to meet NCTE anytime they called on him.”

POTAG is calling on government to expedite action on the payment of the Book and Research Allowances (BRA) for the 2016/2017 Academic year, payment for which they said is long overdue, among other issues. 

The Association said they recall the Minister’s declaration of the release of the BRA during the Congregations of Sunyani and Takoradi Technical Universities adding POTAG is amazed that till date payment of the said allowances have not been sanctioned.

The Association is appealling to government to intervene to avoid any disruptions in academic work on the various campuses.

Read their statement below:

TROUBLE BREWING IN THE NEWLY CONVERTED TECHNICAL UNIVERSITIES: NCTE SHOULD BE CALLED TO ORDER.

The Teachers’ Of Technical Universities And Polytechnics In Ghana (POTAG) have observed with great concern the on-goings of the transition procedure championed especially by the Executive Secretary of the National Council For Tertiary Education (NCTE), Prof. Mohammed Salifu, with the seeming concurrence of the Hon. Minister for Education, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh.

The National Council for Tertiary Education’s arbitrary violations of the Technical Universities Act, 2016 (Act 922), is causing disturbances and agitations and could result in likely court actions if the Government does not intervene immediately. 

After the conversion of the Polytechnics to Technical Universities, Act 922 vested the running of these institutions in the hands of the various University Councils, but in what looks like a display of power, the NCTE through its Executive Secretary Prof. Mohammed Salifu, is acting ultra vires and usurping the functions of these Councils making the various unions agitated and planning huge demonstrations against their unlawful acts.

Some of the issues are: 

1. Section 42(1) of Act 922 states: “the Council of a Polytechnic converted to Technical University shall be an interim council which shall function for a period of not more than 1 year”. But the NCTE has dissolved all these Councils without constituting same to perform the function of ensuring the smooth transition of the various institutions.

2. Section 42(6) of Act 922 states: “a person in the employment of a Polytechnic in existence immediately before the coming into force of this Act, shall be deemed to have been duly employed by the respective Technical University established under this Act on the terms and conditions attached to the post held by that person before the coming into force of this Act”.

The NCTE in violation of this provision has written to all key officers of the various Technical Universities making them interim officers, pending new advertisement and appointments, a function which if even legal, is not in their power so to do. The Act gives this power to the Councils of the various Technical Universities which they have deliberately delayed in constituting. 

3. Section 26(a) of Act 922 states “A council shall ensure the implementation of this Act by Statutes which shall, in particular regulate appointments, Conditions of Service, termination of appointment and retirement benefits of the employees of a Technical University”.

The NCTE has again violated this provision by drafting what they call Harmonized Statutes, Conditions of Service and Scheme of Service for all the Technical Universities. The Act per section 27 clearly prescribed how Statutes should be enacted.

4. The Association observes and believes same to be true that the NCTE has a hidden agenda and hence has resorted to a deliberate feet-dragging strategy to frustrate the transition process and destroy the very fine idea of Technical University introduced by the previous Government.

5. The Association also believes that the deliberate feet-dragging is a Machiavellian tactic of the NCTE being employed in the Transitional arrangements to secure the ambition of some of their top Management and cronies from the Traditional Universities to take up key positions in the newly converted Technical Universities. POTAG views these acts as diabolical and shall resist them vehemently.

6. POTAG as a matter of urgency, demands the immediate reconstitution of the Governing Councils of the Technical Universities and Polytechnics by Government to enable:

a. The Technical Universities to champion the smooth transition of the various Technical Universities as mandated by the Technical Universities Act, 2016 (ACT 922).  

b. The Conversion of the two (2) remaining Polytechnics (Bolgatanga and Wa) by putting the necessary measures in place to get them converted into Technical Universities as soon as practicable. 

7.    POTAG would also like to express its displeasure of the seeming tacit support for the NCTE  by the Minister for Education, Hon. Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh for the flagrant disregard for the Technical Universities Act, 2016 (Act 922) in all these matters. POTAG is of this view because of the following:

a. The Hon. Minister has never sought the view of POTAG as a stakeholder in all these matters which makes his views on the matter skewed towards that of NCTE.

b. All attempts by POTAG to meet the Hon. Minister have never materialized as he seems to be avoiding us. His outfit keeps on re-scheduling meeting appointments but has time to meet NCTE anytime they called on him.

 8. Last but not least, POTAG is calling on the Government to expedite action on the payment of the Book and Research Allowances (BRA) for the 2016/2017 Academic year which payment is long overdue. POTAG recalls the Hon. Minister’s declaration of the release of the BRA during the Congregations of Sunyani and Takoradi Technical Universities. POTAG is amazed that till date payment of the said allowances have not been sanctioned.

9. We appeal to the Government to intervene to avoid any disruptions in academic work on the various campuses.
We wish to express our readiness to collaborate with Government for the development of Technical University Education in Ghana.
Long Live POTAG 
Long Live Technical Education
Long Live Ghana

DAVID WORWUI-BROWN
(GENERAL SECRETARY)

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