Teachers in Ghana angry at unions over laptop ‘chop chop’

One Teacher One Laptop
One Teacher One Laptop

Public sector pre-tertiary teachers across the country are angry with the leadership of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) and the Coalition of Concerned Teachers (CCT) over what they allege is the fleecing of teachers under the ‘one teacher one laptop’ policy of the government.

According to the teachers, their union leaders have connived to inflate the cost of the laptops to fleece the poor teachers across the country.

Some of the angry teachers who spoke to News Ghana were at a loss as to why their own union leaders who should be fighting for the well-being of its members would hatch a plan by hiding behind the government to short-change its members.

“It is sad that our own union leaders have decided to take advantage of us by inflating the cost of the laptops they went to ask the government to supply to teachers. How can our leaders be so cruel and insensitive to the plight of the Ghanaian teacher who has been unfairly treated by successive governments,” a teacher told News Ghana.

Another teacher said, “The GNAT, right from day one, has been quiet about this laptop policy since people started asking questions about the cost, brand and whether teachers were consulted on it. They were quiet because they knew what they were doing.”

Investigations conducted by News Ghana indicate that in September 2020, the leadership of the three unions; GNAT, NAGRAT, and CCT with membership strength of 350,000 sought funding support from the government through the Ministry of Education (MoE) for the procurement and distribution of laptop computers for its members.

According to the original contract signed between the Ministry of Education, the teacher unions, and K.A. Technologies on November 13th, 2020, the unions requested for the procurement and supply of some 280,000 laptop computers to its members.

Following the extensive financial requirement of the project, a cost-sharing arrangement between the teacher unions and the MoE was proposed by the union’s leadership in which the MoE was to contribute 70% of the total cost whilst the remaining 30% was to be absorbed by the teachers.

A request for approval to use a single-source procurement process to engage K.A. Technologies Ghana Limited (a company proposed by the teacher unions) for the supply of the laptop computers was made on December 17th, 2020 with then Education Minister Hon. Dr. Mathew Opoku Prempeh.

Subsequently, an approval to use the single-sourced procurement method to engage K.A. Technologies for the supply of the computers at a unit cost of GH₵ 1,550.

Consequently, an MOU was signed between the Ministry of Education, the teacher unions, and K.A. Technologies Ghana Limited towards the acquisition and supply of laptop computers.

Per the agreement, an amount of GH₵ 465 was supposed to have been deducted from the salaries of pre-tertiary education teachers at the end of last month.

However, to their utter surprise, an amount of GH₵ 509.55 was deducted from the November salaries of some 350,000 public sector teachers across the country, a development which the teachers are not happy with and are calling on their union leaders to immediately provide answers as to why such an amount of money was deducted from their salaries for the cost of the laptop computers.

Attempts to get the leadership of the three teacher unions to speak to the matter proved futile. Enditem

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