Finding a lasting solution to the POTAG impasse

It looks like nothing is straight forward in this society. When the lecturers of public universities abandoned the classroom recently, and called for payments of certain benefits due to them as a condition for their return, the state, with the promptings of the head of state himself, promptly obliged. But the strike action by the Polytechnic Teachers Association of Ghana (POTAG) has taken several weeks without any concrete solution in sight.

Although the teachers agreed to return to the classroom, they did so, not because their conditions have been met. After five weeks without tuition, students were getting agitated, and there was the genuine fear that a whole academic year would be lost.

The General Secretary of POTAG, Anthony Agyarkwa, was quoted in the state-run Daily Graphic that the association decided to suspend the strike action because of the sympathy the members have for the long-suffering students, and a result of the satisfactory resolution of their conflict situation.

He hoped an independent body appointed to look into the issue would do so in good faith. The Chronicle shares the sentiments of the chief scribe of the association. We pray that the impasse is resolved as quickly as possible, to remove the tendency of teachers of the various polytechnics abandoning the classrooms once more.

Already, the strike action has claimed five weeks of the academic calendar. It is going to take a lot of effort to catch up on academic work, with the end of the semester staring everybody in the face.

We would like to believe the authorities would use the cooling off period to tie all knots to assure the teachers that there is goodwill on the part of those whose duty it is to look into the welfare of the teachers.

When those whose duty it is to part knowledge are contented, they would be able to help nurture very good students.

On the other hand, if lecturers enter the classrooms grumbling, they might not be in the frame of mind to discharge their duties honestly.

In a nation struggling to reach Middle Income status, Ghana will need well-middle level personnel with effective grounding in science and technology, to turn the fortunes of the national economy.

In spite of the major strides being made in the service sector, at the end of the day, it is industry that would ultimately untie the knot of advancement. Polytechnic products have a big role to play in our efforts to join working economies of the world. Let us resolve to settle the POTAG dispute amicably.

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