Akropong/Okere Municipal branch of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) has held its Sixth Quadrennial and 53rd Municipal Delegates Conference over the weekend at Akropong-Akuapem in the Eastern Region.
The conference which was held at the Assembly Hall of the School for the Blind was on the theme: GNAT @ 90; SURVIVING AS A RELIABLE AND VIBRANT TEACHER UNION IN THE 21ST CENTURY: THE MODERN TEACHER & CHANGING GLOBAL TRENDS IN EDUCATION”.
Addressing the gathering at the 6th Quadrennial and 53RD Municipal Delegates Conference, the Guest Speaker for the occasion, a lecturer and Communication Consultant, Mr Chris Worla Essikpe, called on the management and members of GNAT to reinvent themselves and lead the charge from the front.
According to him GNAT and co should not be joining the conversation; they rather should be brokering and leading the narrative for others to join. “Ten years from today, no member of GNAT or any other person sitting here today, should be recollecting the impact of GNAT only in the light of strikes and demonstrations” he added.
Mr Essikpe recounting his experience with GNAT, disclosed “My first four years of my employment at Ghana Education Service (GES), I was a default member of GNAT, when I completed my study leave in 2007, I transitioned to NAGRAT briefly before calling time on my employment with the GES. In both circumstances, my faint recollection of the impact of both GNAT and NAGRAT, has been strikes and teacher agitations. The only time we got rallied for anything, was to demonstrate against government over one unpaid allowance or the other. Beyond that, I heard very little or nothing at all during my tenure with both associations.
“Mr. Chairman, Distinguished Guests, Teachers, Ladies and Gentlemen, the world as most of us have come to know it, has been on a constant spin of change, and very rapidly in the last couple of decades. What covid-19 in recent years has brought along can surely not be lost on us. It does appear, quite interestingly, that after sixty-something years of nationhood, our education goals are a shifting target. It does not look like we have quite figured out what we want to do with our education, as a state. On the average, our policies on education keep changing as often as we change governments.
It is against this backdrop, and the pace of global trends in education, that unions with the strength and resources, the size of GNAT, must reinvent themselves and lead the charge from the front. GNAT and co should not be joining the conversation; they should be brokering and leading the narrative for others to join. Ten years from today, no member of GNAT or any other person sitting here today, should be recollecting the impact of GNAT only in the light of strikes and demonstrations” Mr. Essikpe reiterated.
The Lecture and Communication Consultant explained further that it is not enough to provide education, just for the sake of it. But the quality of the content fed to the beneficiaries of the educational system, must be futuristic and anticipatory.
“We can talk all the talks till the cows come back home. Until we are willing to do the unpopular but forward-looking things today, the future of the kids we churn out through the existing system, cannot be secured in anyway. If we keep throwing tokenism, and now, procurement, at every problem in our educational system, we would be producing graduates for markets which will no longer be in existence by the time they graduate, and they will remain eons behind the rest of the world” he warned.
Meanwhile the Municipal Chairperson of Akropong/Okere GNAT, Madam Ophelia Mensiwah Abekah-Ansah in her welcome address called on members to stand united to ensure that the vision of the association is achieved.
According to her the period under review has been very challenging with the advent of COVID-19 pandemic which caused schools to be closed down for unimaginable long term.
“Even though the association has had its fair share of the deadly disease, management has served the association well through modern and improved technology
She maintained that the role of teachers in ensuring impartial or reasonable quality of education as the nation implements several reforms cannot be downplayed.
According to Madam Abekah-Ansah the association will continue to roll out programmes and activities that will enhance the capabilities of members as it is enshrined in the GNAT Constitution, taking cognizance of the four thematic areas which includes: membership education, youth desk, professional development and labour/ welfare issues.
“Carrying out these roles with eagerness, alacrity and promptness to serve our members well make the association which provides hope and prosperity for its members”. She opined.
Speaking in an Interview with Inghananews.com after the program, the Municipal Secretary of GNAT, Mr Wisdom Akakpo said the rational behind the quadrilateral and Delegates Conference is to take stock of past activities and programs.
He explained further that the quadrilateral meeting afford the association an opportunity to elect new officers to steer the affairs of the group for the next four years.
When quizzed if he was satisfied with the turn of event on the day, the affable Municipal GNAT Secretary answered in the affirmative.
“I’m very pleased with the turn of event especially the peaceful and cordial nature of the elections.
We give glory to Almighty God for his guidance and mercies through out the years and members for their understanding and support” he said.
Story: Franklin ASARE-DONKOH
Writer’s Email: firstname.lastname@example.org