Fare hikes creating truancy among students and teachers – GNAT

The Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) has warned that if steps are not taken to remedy the incessant increase in transport fares, truancy among teachers and students will increase.

According to the Chairperson of the Madina-Adenta-Abokobi (MAA) GNAT District, Christian Yaw Adinkra, if the prices of items and services increase and the teacher’s salary remains the same, then a time will come that the classrooms will be half empty and some few teachers may be in school.

“From the way things are going, I foresee that in the coming days, the rate of truancy is going to go up on the part of students and teachers as well. For some time now you can see that some parents are struggling to give their wards transportation to school” he mentioned.

Mr. Adinkra disclosed that it has become common to find classes half empty after break because the students don’t have enough money to pick a car home hence they have to set off early in order to get home on time.

He told Alfred Ocansey on 3FM Sunrise Morning Show that the current price hikes and high cost of living has rendered the 15% of cost of living allowance (COLA) insignificant and has brought untoward hardships on teachers and workers in general.

“As it stands now the salary of the teacher cannot sustain him or her for more than a week. The average teacher takes about one thousand eight hundred (GHS 1,800) whereas prices of food and everything the teacher lives on have skyrocketed including transport. It would be unfair to ask the teacher to come to school when he or she has no lorry fare” Yaw Adinkra stated.

The leader of the teachers’ union added that the food that is being fed to the students in school falls short in quantity and quality as well. A situation he claims is influencing some students to steal from their colleagues.

GNAT has further appealed to the government to suspend the tax component on teachers’ salaries as it is being done in other African countries such as Rwanda to ameliorate the living conditions of teachers.

Chairman Christian Yaw Adinkra again recommended a possible shift system for teachers so that the number of days a teacher attends school could be reduced as well as the transportation cost.

“Our salaries have been invaded by the dollar and swallowed by inflation, hence the teacher’s salary can’t sustain him or her for more than a week. The current economic hardship is creating inevitable truancy. Teachers are not regular school and students’ is worse, and those who are trying to be regular have to walk to a point before picking a car. The situation is dire and something needs to be done before it gets out of hand” He lamented.

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