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Colleges Of Education Get New Conditions Of Service

Staff of the 37 colleges of education which have attained tertiary status will smile all the way to their banks effective October this year. This follows the approval by the Ministry of Finance for the migration of staff of the Colleges of Education (COE) from the Ghana Education Service (GES) payroll to that of the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE) and the payment of the new levels.

A letter signed by the Minister of Finance, Mr Seth Terkper (addressed to the Controller and Accountant-General and copied to all the relevant parties), stated, “Following the attainment of tertiary status by the 37 colleges of education, approval is hereby given for staff of the colleges of education on the Ghana Education Service payroll to be migrated onto the NCTE payroll.”

Payment of salaries

“Per this approval, salaries, retention premium, critical support allowance and conversion difference are to be paid to eligible staff,” it said.

The letter, however, stated that the schedule for payment of associated arrears would be communicated to the staff in due course.

“Please note that the payment of all other allowances are to be made in accordance with the approved rates of the categories two and three allowances.”

Indefinite strike

The Colleges of Education Teachers Association of Ghana (CETAG) declared an indefinite strike starting from September 12, 2016 to press home its demand for the government to migrate the tutors of Colleges of education to a tertiary status and pay remunerations that will reflect their new status.

The letter made it clear that “not all the existing staff of the COE meet the minimum requirements of the new scheme of service for COE developed by the NCTE”.

“Thus not all staff of the COE are to be migrated onto the Single Spine Grade Structure of the COE. Staff who do not meet the minimum requirements are subsequently to be placed on the GES payroll,” the letter stated.

It explained that job titles of the COE had changed and, in some instances, job holders had been placed on lower grade levels with corresponding lower salaries.

“All such job holders are to receive conversion difference in line with the principles of the Single Spine Pay Policy (SSPP) in order not to make them worse off. In the interim, retention premium and critical support of 15 per cent paid to the teaching and some selected non-teaching staff of the COE will continue to be paid until government directives on the payment of premiums and any other related allowance are reviewed,” the letter further added.

Cordial meeting

Throwing more light on the letter, the Deputy Minister of Education in charge of Tertiary Education, Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, said the ministry and the executives of CETAG had concluded “a very positive meeting.”

“I presented that letter to the CETAG executive this morning at our 11 a.m. meeting in my office, which was attended by representatives from the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission, the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE) and staff of the Ministry of Education,” he explained.

He said the meeting was cordial and when the letter was presented to the President of CETAG, he and his team requested to hold a caucus and later return to announce that they had agreed to the October date.

Condition of service

Mr Ablakwa reiterated that no staff of the COE would lose his or her job because of the tertiary guidelines and that no staff would be worse off because of the migration.

He explained that the time frame between 2012 and now had allowed for most of those who were not ready or did not have the requisite qualification to build capacity and to get the needed qualification.

“I am confident in saying that no staff or no tutor is going to lose his or her job. Even for those who have not met the qualification criteria, according to the NCTE guidelines, we have worked out some transition arrangements for them. They will be assistant tutors while they complete their courses and then meet the qualification requirement,” he said.

He said he was confident that the strike declared by CETAG would discontinue by Wednesday, September 21, 2016.

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