CAUT partnered with the National Association of Graduate Teachers to deliver a capacity building workshop in Accra, Ghana last month. Participants left the workshop having gained the know-how & confidence to work within the framework governing labour relations in Ghana & an expanded, inspired sense of what it means to be a union leader.
Thirty national and regional officers of the graduate teaching union in Ghana took part in a first ever training workshop organized by CAUT in Accra last month.
The two-day workshop was the latest in a series of projects that CAUT has co-sponsored with the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) following the signing of a solidarity partnership agreement in 2011.
“We are very pleased to have the support of CAUT in helping to build our capacity and strength so that the voice of teachers and lecturers in Ghana can be heard more clearly and more forcefully,” said NAGRAT president Christian Addai-Poku in welcoming participants.
David Robinson, CAUT’s associate executive director, said the idea of the workshop was first suggested by NAGRAT officials who were concerned there was little by way of training for newly-elected leaders.
“We organized the workshop so that it was driven entirely by the needs of NAGRAT,” Robinson said. “Every session was introduced by a member of the NAGRAT national executive or local expert, which helped ensure a high degree of interaction and discussion.”
Over the course of the program, participants learned about the history of NAGRAT, were introduced to their duties and responsibilities as regional and national officers, discussed the legal framework governing labour relations in Ghana, and debated key policy issues such as financing and privatization of education.
“The growth of private schools and colleges is a serious threat to quality education in Ghana and to NAGRAT itself,” warned the union’s vice-president, Eric Angel Carbonu. “We need to find ways to be more effective advocates for quality public education and to mobilize our members to carry the message to all corners of the country.”
A session on building inclusive unions focused on empowering female leaders within NAGRAT and
led to a recommendation that a separate training program on gender equity be developed.
“There are many barriers to women’s participation in trade unions in Ghana and across the continent,” said Assibi Napoe, who heads Education International’s African regional office. “You cannot have a strong union if you continue to ignore or marginalize the majority of our societies and the majority of our members who are women.”
“We have been given important knowledge and shared many ideas,” Addai-Poku told participants at the end of the workshop. “The challenge now is for us to take this knowledge back to our regions and to let it inform our practice so that we can uplift our members.”
NAGRAT represents about 22,000 teachers in upper secondary and tertiary institutions across Ghana.