Ghana Education News| A Post-mortem on the GNAT Volta 2021 Chairmanship Election Results: TikyaSabo’s Perspective
The GNAT Volta 2021 Chairmanship Election Results have been declared . TikyaSabo’s Perspective takes a look at all events that transpired during the process and provides a most-mortem and recommendations for reflections
The 6th Quadrennial (53rd) Delegates Conferences of GNAT were organized at across the country between February and August 2021.
Members of the union observed keenly as candidates battled one another for positions at all levels, from local through District to Regional. The GNAT Volta Regional Conference which took place at the GNAT Hall, Ho from August 9 to 11, 2021 was of particular interest in many respects. The following report and its accompanying recommendations follow direct observation of proceedings and interviews during and after the GNAT Volta regional conference.
The Election Results
The election produced some interesting results but this treatise is focused on the Regional Chairmanship contest which was between two giants. Mr David Kattah, the incumbent Regional Chairman and Mr Bruce Senam McBrian, the contender.
Many believed there was going to cause an upset in the Regional Chairmanship race but the election result presented a story that shocked many. There were 352 valid votes cast and two rejected. Bruce had 91 votes while the incumbent chairman had 261; that’s a whopping 170 votes difference!
In percentage terms, Bruce had 26% of the total valid votes cast while Kattah had 74% of the total valid votes cast.
Election Results Analysis
Station (Management vs Classroom)
1) 74% of Delegates believed Bruce could defend teachers’ interests only when he works in the classroom.
2) 26% of delegates believed Bruce could defend teachers’ interests even while he works with GES as PRO.
Differentiation (Individual vs Organization)
74% of delegates failed to distinguish between Bruce and the GES as different entities and once they believed GES was corruptible, Bruce must be culpable.
26% of delegates saw Bruce and the GES as separate entities and believed Bruce was incorruptible.
Conundrum (Change vs Continuity)
74% of delegates believed Bruce was great but it was not yet his time to lead.
26% of delegates believed Bruce was great and does not need to wait for 4 years to lead.
Inducement (Money vs Message)
74% of delegates believed money and materials should determine their votes and whoever threw more money and materials received their votes.
26% of delegates did not believe money or materials should determine their votes.
Communication (Communication vs Silence)
74% of delegates believed communication was essential and Bruce was a great communicator but he does not need to lead GNAT Volta.
26% of delegates believed communication was essential and Bruce was a great communicator and needs to lead GNAT Volta.
Level (National vs Regional)
74% of delegates believed Bruce was competent but he should aspire to serve at the National level in 2022 or wait for 2025 to become Regional Chairman.
26% of delegates believed Bruce was competent and could serve both at the regional and the National level.
Teachers in the Classroom and Teachers in management.
The question, whether teachers who work at the education offices can genuinely represent teachers’ interest across the country has persisted over the years. It is an open secret that most teachers who work on the field have a general mistrust for teachers who work at the various education offices. Those who argue that teachers in the offices cannot represent the best interest of all teachers cite work ethic, claims of extortions and some other unspoken accounts of injustice justify their position.
Some leaders of the union are currently Directors of GES or close to that rank. This is not the first time such a situation is occurring; similar situations persisted in the past. Mr Paul Apanga was a Director of GES when he got elected as National President in 2010 but had to resign honourably in 2011 when he became Northern Regional Director. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the closer the union’s leaders get to the top of their career ladder, the greater their tendency to please the employer at the expense of the generality of members. Some leaders who are Directors of GES, tend to adopt a nonchalant posture to the plight of members for obvious reasons and those who are Deputy Directors keep their eyes on the next promotion interview. Consequently, some teachers argue that members of GNAT on higher ranks should be barred from contesting and holding certain positions within the union. Some members however disagree with this call arguing that since the union does not bar teachers who work at the education office in whatever capacity from being members of the union, they are free to run for any office within the union.
Can a Public Relations Officer of GES Lead GNAT? Why not? For so long as they remain active members of the union, nothing prevents them from occupying any elected position. The undercurrents may be tricky and public opinion about the GES Public Relations practitioners quite unfavourable but there is certainly no conflict of interest. The work of a Public Relations Officer in GES is quite different from those of Directors and other schedule officers. The Public Relations Officer is the scapegoat for any wrongs committed by other officers at the education office. He is the one who gets treated with suspicion and sidelined in major management decisions and yet is expected to go out there to defend whatever decisions are taken. The PRO is usually not your favourite officer in the education industry because he is the one many believe comes to lie to cover management blunders. To marshal the courage to put oneself up for election to any position within the GES is needs serious commendation.
The Regional Chairmanship election was not just a simple contest of popularity between the two candidates. The dynamics of that election extend beyond the parameters of an ordinary contest between two individuals pitched against each other. The election was largely a referendum on the Ghana Education Service (GES) especially the Ho Municipal Directorate; partly an endorsement of money politics and partly a rejection of honesty!
GNAT Volta 2021 Chairmanship Election Results Recommendations
1) GNAT must work hard to change delegates’ perception about inducements during elections.
2) The GES should consider undertaking serious image cleansing.
3) GNAT may consider creating a unique role for its members in the education offices.
■DA-BALORROR STEPHEN SABO
■21ST CENTURY TEACHER