1T1L: GNATOC Members Hot. Hotter Than Primary School Teachers

When will GNATOC members get their laptops?

A complication for final year GNATOC members

GNATOC leadership and aggrieved members on a collision course

A demonstration on the agenda by GNATOC members.

Get to know the GNATOC members leading the aluta.

In what some sections of teachers and members of the general public consider a questionable contract to provide teachers with laptops each using the pension contributions of members, large sections of teachers are yet to receive their laptops. The government, as a policy, decided to supply every teacher with one laptop under the slogan ‘One Teacher One Laptop’ (1T1L), with the teachers funding thirty per cent (30%) of the total cost of the laptops. However, there are a lot of issues accompanying the distribution of laptops nationwide.

The distribution of laptops started with senior high school teachers receiving theirs late last year, 2021, with basic schools struggling to get any information on the timelines for receiving their laptops, talk of receiving a laptop that was paid upfront with their social security contributions and later with a onetime deduction from their salary.

GNATOC, Ghana National Association of Teachers On Campus, is the worst affected when it comes to information on where, when and how they will receive their laptops. GNATOC members who come from different parts of the country, Ghana, to school on various university or tertiary campuses can not get information about which district/region they will receive their laptops based on the policy on their employment station, when a teacher goes on study leave. Teachers who are on study leave are deemed to have transferred to the region in which their university or tertiary school is located. Therefore, at the moment, it is unclear which district or region the teachers on campus will receive their laptops, whether at their former work station or at the district or region in which their university is located.

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Another piece of information that is dear to the teachers, who are now students, is when they will get their laptops. This is a question that GNATOC leadership can not obtain from the stakeholders that should provide such information including Ghana Education Service, Ministry of Education, GNAT, the regional and district offices where GNATOC and TMI laptop manufactures. This lack of even information is causing fear and panic among the GNATOC members especially those who are in their final years. This is because their situation may become more complicated if they are posted to new districts and new regions because their data may not be captured at their new districts or new regions since they were not there when the original distribution lists were compiled by various districts and regions. It is based on this confusion in the minds of GNATOC members that a concerned group has emerged from GNATOC to press home their demands for receiving their laptops or, in a worse case scenario, obtain certain vital information regarding when, where and how they will get their laptops. Something proactive policy makers and their stakeholders should not be forced to do. This concerned group from GNATOC calls themselves ‘WE NEED OUR LAPTOPS NOW’.

The WE NEED OUR LAPTOPS NOW movement, which is being led by Sir Joe and Isaac Frenpong, were originally planning to stage a mammoth demonstration to register their displeasure with respect to how Ghana Education Service, Ministry of Education, TMI and GNAT are handling information regarding when, where and how they will get their laptops. As a first step, the leaders of WE NEED OUR LAPTOPS NOW, which are heavily represented at University of Education, Winneba (UEW), requested a meeting with the leadership of GNATOC leadership of UEW, to have first-hand information on their grievances. In attendance was the patron of GNATOC UEW, the chairperson of GNATOC UEW, Sir Joe and Isaac Frenpong, who are both leading members of the WE NEED OUR LAPTOPS NOW movement.

To the disappointment of Sir Joe and Isaac Frenpong, the patron and chairperson of GNATOC were both frustrated with getting access to any vital information from relevant stakeholders regarding the concerns of when, where and how the GNATOC members would receive their laptops. However, the leading figures of the concerned GNATOC members have accepted the advice given by both the patron and chairperson of GNATOC with regard to the other options to take before the eventual demonstrations by the movement. The movement was advised to hold a press conference to let well-meaning members of the public know what their issues were before any possible demonstration, if the relevant stakeholders like G.E.S, TMI, GNAT, etc did not offer any relevant information and/or actual distribution of the laptops.

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In a related development, while some Junior junior high school teachers are receiving their laptops, others are not even aware of when the distribution will get to their districts. Primary and pre-school teachers do also not have any information regarding the timelines for receiving their laptops.

Teachers who have received their laptops have disclosed a series of issues or problems that come with the laptops. While some of the laptops freeze unnecessarily, others overheat within a few minutes of usage. The laptops which come without CD slots have only one slot for pendrives. While some of the laptops have non-functional keys, others malfunction when new software is installed. The laptops, which have inbuilt batteries, have very poor picture resolution, similar to the negative of a film image.

The seventy per cent (70%) up front payment for the laptops, as demanded by the suppliers of the laptop, was done by the government of Ghana of using the pension contributions of the teachers under the guise of a loan taken from the pension fund managers of the teachers. In a bizarre twist, the teachers were compulsorily deducted the interest demanded by the pension fund managers on the loan taken by the government. The interest on the loan taken from the pension was deducted together with the thirty per cent (30%) component of the cost of the laptops that the teachers were supposed to pay. A loan they never burgained for or asked government to take on their behalf.

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