Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) will mark 90 years of existence in 2021 yet, its members feel short-changed after the latest briefing from the council meeting hit the internet.
What are the GNAT loan interest and retirement benefits concerns to members?
The meeting among other things discussed issues and policies aimed at supporting teachers in deviser ways.
Chief among issues discussed was the teachers’ loan fund and the GNAT Loan Interest charged teachers, which saw a 2% reduction in interest rates from 18% to 16%. Members are calling for a further downward reduction in the interest rate.
GNAT also briefed its members on retirement benefits. The morale of members regarding this was not positive due to the amount to be paid, which stood at GHS2500.
The retirement package got many members talking. The retirement benefit of GHS2500 needs to be reconsidered. Some teachers have called for a better classification of such benefits. The number of years one has been a member determines how much membership dues have been paid, and that should reflect in the retirement benefit and not a blanket figure.
Views sampled by GhanaEducation.Org from members revealed that they would prefer a structure that pays a certain amount as a benefit for each range of years of membership.
One can imagine contributing dues for 30 years only to receive GHS2500 as your retirement benefit. This is too small, a teacher and member of GNAT said.
Members believe a more equitable retirement benefit would be welcomed by than a flat amount.
From all indications, members are not enthused about the amount, especially when the union is celebrating 90 years of existence and 60 years of operating the CTF.
GNAT will celebrate its 90th anniversary in 2021 under the team”GNAT@90, surviving as a reliable and vibrant Teacher Union in the 21st century”.
The update released to members also highlighted on the GNAT NDC (National Donations Committee). “This is a committee instituted by GNAT to assist teachers in need of financial assistance due to certain conditions such as sickness, accident, armed robbery attack, fire outbreak which led to loss of properties among others. Any teacher who applied for such benefits must attach evidence like police report, hospital report, etc depending on your situation.” the report indicated.
Pre-finance Accommodation for GNAT members
GNAT further revealed that it is collaborating with a Housing Company that will pre-finance the construction of teachers’ accommodation for members.
Once the building is completed and handed over to the teacher, he or she will be allowed a period within which to make payment for the edifice constructed and handed over. This plan if successfully implemented will benefit all teachers of the union across the nation.
GNAT petitions government over tax on the professional development allowance
The association furthered that, it has petitioned government with regards to the taxing of the teachers’ professional development allowance which was wrong taxed and inconsistent with agreements reached prior to its payment.
Teachers on study leave without pay and GES’ reluctance to upgrade them
The normal practice within the Ghana Education Service is that recognition of newly obtained academic certificates and subsequent upgrading of teachers is done for only GES staff members whose study leaves were approved.
This practice has led to the failure of the government to recognize certificates of other teachers who obtained these new certificates without appropriate approval for the GES.
GNAT has disclosed that it has raised concerns about the practice after the GES issued a communique refusing to upgrade such teachers to new ranks.
The practice might have been useful in the past but the modern dynamics of education should influence the decision and cause the Ghana Education Service to vary the policy especially if the upgrade which is funded by the teacher does not in any way affect his or her engagements during contact hours.