The Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) has condemned attacks on members and warned that it will withdraw its services in communities where they were physically assaulted by the people.
The association expressed concern about the silence of society over the attacks and said “the uncouth and barbaric attacks of teachers need to stop else we would stay away from classrooms in communities we are attacked”.
The General-Secretary of GNAT, Mr Thomas Tanko Musah, told the Daily Graphic last Saturday that they were surprised there had not been any arrest although there had been reports of the incidents.
“The attacks on teachers are barbaric, uncouth and irresponsible and should not be tolerated in a democratic era like what we have now. For that matter, those perpetrating these must be arrested by the police and punished severly to serve as a deterrent to others.
“This thing should not be encouraged. If the police do not protect teachers they cannot go to the classroom to teach. The police must show leadership and we want to hear civil society organisations, religious leaders, traditional rulers and opinion leaders speak and condemn what is happening,” he added.
Teachers in the southern cluster of schools within the Krowor Municipal Assembly (KroMA) in the Greater Accra Region withdrew their services after a student of Municipal Two Junior High School (JHS) led a gang of young men to beat up his teacher about a week ago in retaliation for punishing him.
The teacher, Mr Moses Onyameasem, is the class teacher of the JHS Three student.
The suspected student is said to have received two strokes of the cane when he was found loitering on the school compound while classes were in session.
This was after a similar incident in Tamale where the headteacher of Nyohini Junior High School Block ‘B’ and two others in the Tamale Metropolis were allegedly attacked by some unidentified persons recently.
This led to the boycott of classes by members of various teacher unions in the metropolis for some days.
The teachers subsequently petitioned the Metro Education Directorate and the police to ensure the perpetrators were apprehended and punished.
“Beating of teachers is something that society must not tolerate or encourage. We all need to appreciate that teachers are human beings,” Mr Musah said.
“Teachers as public servants under Article 190 of the 1992 Constitution have a duty to teach children. If anybody feels strongly that a teacher has done something that he is not happy with, he or she has the right to go to the appropriate quarters, the education directorate, to ensure the teacher is brought to order,” he said.
Mr Musah further expressed concern over the manner in which the police were handling reports of attacks of teachers in the country.
“All you hear is that the matter has been reported to the police and investigations are ongoing. It is something that we cannot appreciate and accept. The police must tell us something better than always saying they are investigating.
“Within a spate of two months, teachers have been at the receiving end and we are saying that this cannot continue. We will no longer continue to accept the rendition of the police that investigations are ongoing and all that. If the police do not show proactiveness in bringing the perpetrators to book and punishing them according to the laws of the land, then `teachers have no option but to invoke Section 119 of the Labour Law which says that if you find yourself in a working environment where your life is under threat you are to report to your immediate supervisor and withdraw your services,” he added.