The University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) has cautioned the government to take immediate steps to pay their 2023/23 Book and Research Allowance (BRA) by Saturday, October 21.
In a statement issued on Monday, October 16 2023 and signed by its National Chairman Professor Mamudu A. Akudugu and National Secretary, Dr Elliasu Mumuni, the University Teachers Association indicated that if the government fails to respond to its caution, it shall embark on industrial action in protest of the government.
According to the release, the delay in the payment of the Book and Research Allowance (BRA) to its members has created displeasure among them on most public university campuses.
“UTAG clarifies that the implementation of the Fund should not replace the infamous Book and Research Allowance (BRA), which is a critical component of the conditions of service of the Members of UTAG, which has been delayed unduly for the already completed 2022/2023 Academic year as many Lecturers in public universities are yet to receive this reimbursable expenditure. This is creating tension on our campus”.UTAG
The statement further underscored the importance of research to the work of the members of the University Teachers Association in Ghana and emphasized how valuable funding also facilitates such works.
It noted that, in most instances, the promotion of members of the Association in their respective discipline is dependent on the number of research one produces.
The University Teachers Association of Ghana thus, admonished the government to ensure that all its members receive their Book and Research Allowances (BRA) by the 21st of October to avoid disrupting industrial harmony
“Public university lecturers have three main responsibilities: conducting research, teaching, and providing community service to promote development. These endeavours require a lot of funding, primarily obtained through foreign grants that ultimately dictate the research’s agenda and focus. Sustainability also suffers when foreign agencies fund local research. Thus, national funding can only achieve effective and sustainable research that addresses contextual developmental problems”.UTAG
Moreover, the University Teachers Association of Ghana commended the Parliament of Ghana for passing the National Research Fund Act (Act 1056) and called for its immediate operationalization and recommended that the government should allocate at least 1% of GDP to operationalize the National Research Fund.
Meanwhile, the University Teachers Association of Ghana expressed its strongest disapproval over the attacks on journalists and media houses in the country.
According to its statement, the recent attacks on journalists and some media houses in the country are attacks on freedom of expression as guaranteed in Chapter 12 of Article 162 of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana.
It, therefore, called on the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to ensure that perpetrators of all attacks on journalists, including the one on Citifm journalists, media houses and killings of journalists in the country, are arrested and prosecuted to avert future happenings.
“UTAG observed with sadness the increasing attacks on the freedom of expression and of the Media. These developments are not in the interest of our growing democratic dispensation. While condemning these acts of violence and lawlessness, UTAG commends the police for acting swiftly to arrest some individuals who recently attacked journalists and panellists at United Television (UTV)”.UTAG
UTAG Calls For Peace Ahead Of Election 2024
More so, the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) called on all Ghanaians particularly political parties to uphold the peace the country enjoys as the recent disruption of the constitutional order of Ghana’s neighboring countries must be of concern to all Ghanaians particularly as the country goes to the poll on December 7 2024.
According to the statement, the devastating effects of war are very threatening to human existence and survival and therefore the need for all citizens to cherish the peace of the country
“Countries with not-so-good democratic credentials practice surround Ghana. The recent coup d’états in Burkina Faso, Niger and others should be a source of worry to all of us. The disturbances in Burkina Faso and the active presence of jihadists in the area have the potential to spill over to Ghana, especially through Bawku, where a tribal conflict has been raging on over the last two years with no end at sight”.UTAG
The University Teachers Association of Ghana thus, called on government, citizens and development partners to take concrete steps to address all security challenges across the country to ensure a peaceful election in 2024.
Again, the University Teachers Association of Ghana further indicated that it is very important for the rightful systems and structures to be put in place by the government, the Electoral Commission of Ghana and all relevant stakeholders to ensure a credible election come December 7 2024.
Moreover, the University Teachers Association of Ghana called on political parties to develop manifestoes that address the challenges and reflect the aspirations of the people of Ghana.
It argued that such development by political parties will place the workers and citizens’ welfare at the centre of the national development agenda.
Again, UTAG emphasized that the development of result-oriented manifestoes by political parties will make the political parties more accountable to the people and thus improve the standard and livelihood of the ordinary Ghanaian.
“UTAG would want to support the Trade Union Congress (TUC) in its call to develop the workers’/citizens’ manifesto for adoption of all political parties heading into the 2024 general elections”.UTAG
The University Teachers Association of Ghana therefore indicated that it will make available its expertise across the various sectors of the economy to the various political parties towards the development of its manifestoes.
Additionally, UTAG decried of the lackadaisical posture of government towards the implementation of Constitutional Review Commission established by the late President, John Atta Mills in 2010.
According to the University Teachers Association of Ghana, it finds the non-implementation of the reviewed of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana very troubling.
It therefore called on government to take measures to immediately implement the recommendations made by the Constitutional Review Committee of Inquiry to improve Ghana’s democratic order.
“We take exception to the very partisan challenge of policy discontinuity that plagues our efforts at development and violates the Directive Principles of State Policy that enjoins regimes to continue with programmes initiated by previous regimes as much as possible.We note that having spent state resources to set up a Constitution Review Commission of Inquiry in January 2010 to undertake such a crucial exercise of nationwide public consultations culminating in a report submitted to the government in December 2011 and the issuance of the White Paper”.UTAG
The Congress, which was held under the theme, ‘Labour Unionism and Socioeconomic Transformation in Ghana: Can UTAG be the Pacesetter?’, had in attendance delegates from all the 15 traditional public universities in Ghana to discuss the role of UTAG as a central pillar and intellectual hub in providing policy alternatives and shaping public policy discourse through research and advocacy.