New National Executive being sworn in by Prof Anthony Simons, Pro Vice Chancellor of UMaT. From right: Assoc Prof Solomon Nunoo, President, Dr Eric N. Wiah, Vice President, Dr Asare Asante-Annor, Secretary and Dr Akyene Tetteh, Treasurer
The University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) held its 20th National Congress at the University of Mines and Technology, Tarkwa where new executives were inducted to steer the affairs of the Association for the next two years. The new National Executive body, which has Associate Prof Solomon Nunoo as the President; Dr Eric N. Wiah, Vice President; Dr Asare Asante-Annor, Secretary; and Dr Akyene Tetteh, Treasurer, all from UMaT, took over from the Prof Charlse Ofosu Marfo led administration from the Kwame Nkruma University of Science and Technology (KNUST).The Congress was held under the theme; “Post Civid-19 Tertiary Education in Ghana-the Role of Government and Preparedness of Public Universities in Promoting Quality Teaching”.
Speaking on the topic; Effect of covid-19 on Higher Education in Ghana: Opportunities and Threats, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Health and Allied Sciences, Prof John Owusu Gyapong noted that the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic in early 2020 forced universities around the world to confront unprecedented challenges that simultaneously exposed and exacerbated existing deficiencies and dysfunctions.
Prof Gyapong noted that universities in Africa were among the most affected and least able to manage the multi-pronged crises because of their pre-existing capacity challenges that centered around financial resources, physical and technological infrastructure, leadership and governance, human capital and research output. He stated that many African universities suffered from limited digital infrastructure, capacity, and connectivity, which made it difficult for them to transition online for education, research and administration.
According to Prof Gyapong, ‘COVID-19 should be a wake-up call to our research capacities, science, technology and innovation systems, manufacturing capabilities, and inter-institutional and interdisciplinary collaboration through existing consortia’.
The Minister of Education, Hon Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum who joined the Congress via Zoom, spoke on the topic ‘The Current Working Conditions of the University Teacher, The Role of Government’. He stated that Government will do its best to put things right in order to bring the back-and-forth movement between Government and UTAG to an end. Hon Dr Adutwum gave the assurance that Government is working to make sure that the issue regarding market premium and related issues are addressed.
The Pro Vice Chancellor of UMaT, Prof Anthony Simons spoke on the topic ‘Challenges of the Single Spine Salary Structure: The Case of the University Teacher’. According to Prof Simons, the introduction of the Single Spine Salary Structure made university teaching attractive. He however stated that after the introduction the structure, challenges which brought about the introduction of the structure still exist and the situation has brought agitations among labour unions. He therefore recommended that Government should act appropriately to bring an end to agitations among University Teachers.
Assoc Prof Solomon Nunoo, the new UTAG National President called on the Government and its agencies to respect the various agreements they have signed with the labour groups. He noted that the present negotiation on the Conditions of Service should end at some point. Assoc Prof Nunoo was hopeful that the dream of building a National Secretariat for UTAG, which has been pending for the past 12 years, will be realised during his tenure.
The Congress also inducted into office, Local Executives of UTAG at the various campuses.
A section of the Local Executives being sworn in by the National President, Assoc Prof Solomon Nunoo
The Chairman for the ceremony, Prof Richard K. Amankwah, Vice Chancellor of UMaT urged the new National and Local Executives to hold forth the mantle and ensure the fulfilment of the aspirations of members of the Association especially with regards to Conditions of Service.
Source: T. B. Eshun
University Relations Office