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Saturday, January 29, 2022

3 teachers unions demand laptops for members by December 31

Philippa Larsen, National President of GNAT

Three teacher unions in the country yesterday asked the government to ensure all teachers deducted monies for the provision of laptops are supplied with their device by December 31 this year.

The unions include the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), and the Coalition of Concerned Teachers- Ghana (CCT-Ghana).

They further appealed to the government to absorb interest charges on the pre-financing component, amounting to 30 percent of the funding, which was borne by the Ghana Education Service Occupational Pension Scheme (GESOPS).

Philippa Larsen, National President of GNAT, at a press conference in Accra yesterday, explained that the unions had only agreed to the use of their annual Continuous Professional Development Allowance to bear the 30 percent component of a unit cost of the laptop.

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The press interaction by the unions was to explain their position in relation to the government’s initiative to provide each teacher with a laptop.

She noted that the pre-financing agreement with GESOPS, award of contract, and other arrangements regarding the One Teacher One Laptop project was undertaken by the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service (GES).

“The unit cost of the laptop was GH¢1,550 with the 30 percent component of the teacher to be paid from the annual Continuous Professional Development Allowance.

“This was our level of involvement in the One Teacher, One Laptop project. The rest of the processes of procurement, award of contract, financing, and distribution were done by the Ministry of Education and GES,” she stated.

Initially, Madam Larsen noted that the teacher unions pushed for the government to take up the full cost of the 288,000 laptops but upon some negotiations, the teachers agreed to bear 30 percent while the government takes care of the remaining 70 percent.

In addition to the supply of the laptops, she said, the full cost includes the provision of technical support, maintenance, training, and equipping of pre-tertiary teachers to offer virtual teaching and learning for their students.

Discussing the changes in prices, she said, per the pre-financing agreement between GES and GESOPS, the cost per teacher was GH¢549.44 including the 18.16 percent interest on the GH¢465.

The price, Madam Larsen stated, was further reduced to GH¢509 due to the intervention of the unions and the Minister of Education who indicated that 18.16 percent interest be charged on the entire 30 percent portion of the teacher.

Meanwhile, another teacher union, All Teachers Alliance Ghana (ATAG) has threatened to embark on a demonstration on December 15, this year to drum home their displeasure over the government’s decision to deduct GH¢509 from the teachers’ professional development allowance as payment for the One Teacher One Laptop policy.

According to the General Secretary of All Teachers Alliance Ghana, Albert DadsonAmoah, the deduction was being done at a time when a legal battle seeking to terminate the implementation of the initiative is ongoing.

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