The Conference of Heads of Basic Schools (COHBS) states that it will comply with a directive issued by the Ghana Education Service (GES), asking school heads to keep schools open despite an industrial action declared by teacher unions.

COHBS indicates that its decision to comply with the directive is aimed at safeguarding the safety of students across the country.

Some three teacher unions made up of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) and the Coalition of Concerned Teachers (CCT-Gh) declared a nationwide strike effective Wednesday, March 20.

In a press statement issued on Wednesday, the unions stated that their intent to embark on the industrial action stems from the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service’s delay in addressing their conditions of service.

They stated that the negotiation of a new collective agreement should have been completed on or before February 29, 2024, but that was not done.

But in a statement addressed to Regional and District Directors, GES explained that schools must be kept open despite the stance of the teachers.

“Management of the Ghana Education Service (GES) has read from the media that the three (3) Teacher Unions in the Pre-Tertiary Education sector have declared withdrawal of their services effective Wednesday 20th March 2024.

“Heads of public Kindergarten and Primary Schools as well as Junior and Senior High Schools have been directed through the Regional and District Directors to mobilise their Management teams to ensure the safety and well-being of all students in schools,” part of the statement read.

General Secretary Adu Darko mentioned that heads of basic schools would be held liable for the lives of children entrusted into their care during the strike period.

“In the first place, the strike was declared very late yesterday. Most of the pupils and teachers are not aware…The appeal was that we should just come and open the facilities for the children. Even if the teachers don’t come to school, we have to ensure their safety because the pupils, some of them will come to school.”

He told JoyNews’ Ohemeng Tawiah that; “If we open the facilities and maybe the teachers are not in school then we can tell them that because of this reason, they should go back home.”

He added that he will be back in school on Friday as well to ensure that the pupils who may turn up are safe.

The GES has also revealed that management is closely monitoring the situation and will advise on the way forward accordingly.