The National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) is unhappy with the Ghana Education Serviceâ€™s (GES) directive to third-year students in Senior High Schools to return to school earlier than the planned reopening date for extra classes.
The students, the first batch of governmentâ€™s Free SHS program who were supposed to resume in September are now to return on August 19, 2019.
According to the GES, the recall from the vacation is an intervention to enable teachers to recover some lost contact hours and prepare the students adequately for next yearâ€™s West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
At a press conference where the announcement was made, Director General of GES, Prof. Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa explained that the move to have the teachers and students back to school was crucial in order not to distort academic work.
â€œThe form two students going to form three in SHS are going to resume on 19th August. It is important that they reopen school on 19th August because if we allow them to run the regular semester programme, they will be finishing school somewhere in August next year, However, WAEC timetable indicates that first week in June , they would have completed school.â€
â€œThey will start their exam in April . So what it means is that if you allow them to run the regular programme, they may be at home when itâ€™s even time to be writing the exams,â€ he added.
But, President of NAGRAT, Angel Carbonu says teachers cannot be forced to return from their holidays adding that the action is even unlawful.
â€œWe have indicated that such exercise cannot be compulsory. You cannot compel teachers who are on holiday to go back to school. So those teachers who will exercise the options to absenting themselves from the would-be form threes can not be intimidated or victimised by anyone. The exercise is not compulsory and we are asking teachers to exercise their rights to be part of it or not.â€
â€œTeachers are public sector workers and they come under the labour law. The labour law enjoins the employer to ensure that every worker takes a number of days as leave depending on their rank. They are entitled by law to enjoy that annual leaveâ€, he added.
The teachers would be paid intervention money for the additional work they will be doing during the period.