The Book and Research (B&R) allowance as currently being paid partially to the College of Education Tutor is a negotiated Condition of Service or an accrued right by the Colleges of Education Tutors, which originated in February 2019 following a protracted negotiation between the Government Team and CETAG (Colleges of Education Teachers’ Association of Ghana).
The purpose of the B&R as a Condition of Service is meant for the College Tutor to utilize in search (gathering) of worthwhile and specific pieces of knowledge, skills, and attitudes to enhance his or her lesson delivery. It is also meant to aid Staff ‘A’ Category of the Non-Teaching Staff for better output.
Furthermore, it is a facility granted to all tertiary institutions to enable qualified Staff of both Teaching and Non-Teaching to draw it for the above-stated purpose.
However, it is sad to note that, since its insertion three years ago, there have been subtle attempts by a certain group of personalities within the Colleges of Education fraternity, either advertently or inadvertently to misinform the College community into believing that, the B&R allowance granted to the Colleges of Education Tutor is mainly for the publication of personal/publishable research work aimed at achieving promotions in the tertiary dispensation. This sad development if not checked in good time has the potency to undermine the rights and privileges of the College Tutor, thus serving the egoistic interest of a certain group of personalities within and outside the Colleges of Education system in Ghana.
Personally, and as the National Vice President of CETAG (Colleges of Education Teachers’ Association of Ghana), I consider this run-of-the-mill mission by those involved in grounding this act as an academic mendaciousness to the highest acme, crying profusely for denunciation by all and sundry.
According to Appiah, Asare M., in his paper titled; “Justification for the Payment of Book and Research (B&R) Allowance to POTAG”, published by the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in July 2014, “The Book and Research allowance constitute part of the tools, equipment, machinery or learning materials that is to aid the Lecturer in performing his or her day-to-day activities as a teacher. Therefore, its basic purpose is not necessary to aid or help the Lecturer to conduct publishable or developmental research. Although at some material moment the lecturer can use it to pay publication fees for research work, it is considered as a tool to help in the acquisition of instructive knowledge”.
Dear Reader, I cannot but agree with the above-quoted assertion as I examine it about the College of Education Tutor. The B&R allowances are undeniably supported by the Labour Act 2003, (Act 651). Sections 9 (a) and (b), section 69 (b) and 70 (a) to (f), as well as sections 105 (2) and (3) and 107 (3). The B&R allowances granted to the college of education tutor is an instructional aid meant to facilitate his or her preparatory activities towards effective and contemporary classroom delivery as far as both content knowledge and pedagogical knowledge are concerned, and differs completely from developmental research which fundamentally focuses on exploring varied strategies to solving an identified problem to foster sustainable development which must be publishable to create the desired effect on society globally. Developmental research unlike instructional research is mainly focused on the researcher’s finished work adding knowledge to the already existing global knowledge in any area of interest of the tutor and often related to the tutor’s subject domain and could be self-sponsored or otherwise or co-authored. It could also be interdepartmental as being viewed in the contemporary perspectives.
It is however very instructive to note that, the results of a few of the instructional research by the Colleges of Education Tutors may be published as a contribution to existing perspectives, and to spark off further research in academia which involves consultation of books, documents, journals and a wide range of relevant and related literature ahead of actual classroom delivery. This however must not be confused with developmental or publishable research as being attempted by some few persons in the corridors of power to use it to intimidate the college tutor.
I am authoring this write-up to put it succinctly on record that, the B&R allowances granted to the Colleges of Education Tutors and Lecturers of similar analogous institutions in the tertiary bracket are not necessarily for developmental or publishable research as some may want us to believe. The word ‘research’ is used in this context to depict the act of searching for relevant and current pieces of information required by the College Tutor to support him or her in the teaching art. In doing this within this information age, tutors would need to buy books, spend so much on data in search of information on the net, subscribing to professional and academic journals of national or international repute, installation of modern technology in their homes and offices to support online activities, attending conferences, etc. all in a bid towards achieving higher productivity in their lesson delivery. It is therefore unacceptable for some schools of thought to disregard the law which established the B&R and start equating it to other forms of research that require publication of finished works for promotion within the tertiary system.
Truth be told: this kind of crude interpretation of the B&R aggregates to a far-reaching misrepresentation and miseducation of the college tutor for seemingly cynical reasons. The B&R allowance is again an allowance paid to the CETAG members to assist them to execute their work as teachers within the colleges of education. It will therefore be an error in practice for any college of education management to condition the payment of B&R allowances to evidence of tutors’ published articles within the period in question.
It must be noted that the promotion of the Tutor in the College of Education is already conditioned to a specific number of published works within specifically stated years of service as contained in the Harmonized Statutes for Colleges of Education. The inability of Tutors to do publishable research and have the same published in recognized journals has its negative consequences to the tutor which must indeed be worked towards by the College of Education Tutor. Let no self-motivated Management of any College of Education trouble the Tutor in this direction for self-aggrandizement.
Why do certain categories of Non-Teaching Staff members of Colleges of Education who are designated as Staff ‘A’ just like the Tutors equally draw these B&R allowances? Is it for the fun of it? Are they required to publish too for promotion? It is granted to them to assist them to do occupational/professional research to update their knowledge and skills for effective work output which has little to do with publishable or published works.
In conclusion, I wish to appeal to those involved in this seemingly academic and professional sacrilege to desist from the act and rather encourage and support the College Tutor to gain mastery over research in general (in all its forms and definitions) to contribute meaningfully to knowledge building for societal advancement. We must not directly or indirectly tie the payment of B&R to the ability of the College Tutor to publish research work or to evidence of published works by the College Tutor. We as College Tutors are researchers and we must publish our finished works for obtaining our promotion from one rank to the other and continues existence in the tertiary system. But, tie not our B&R allowance to publication!
Live and let live!
Tutor and CETAG Nat. Vice President. [email protected]