A Zimbabwean lecturer has rejected a senior lecturer position at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) over poor salary.
In a letter declining the offer by KNUST, Dr. Matthew Chiwaridzo stated that the annual salary of Ghc55, 104.05 (USD 760.00 per month) is not comparable to a monthly basic salary of a Lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe (ZWL 1, 293, 708.00 per annum: USD 1.283 per month).
“Please note that I am currently in the Senior Lecturer grade (ZWL 1, 561 248.00 per annum; USD 1.500 per month) at the University of Zimbabwe by virtue of having a doctorate degree specialising in Physiotherapy, 35 publications, 2 awarded grant projects and 7 years of satisfactory teaching, industrialisation, innovation and research experience. It is for this economical reason that I decline the offer of employment at KNUST and will want to explore other opportunities.”
This has come as a blow to most Ghanaians and has become significantly telling because the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) was recently pried off their nationwide strike over poor salaries and poor conditions of service.
The incident has gone ballistic on Ghana’s social media with the lecturer’s letter rejecting the offer at Ghana’s second most prestigious university going viral.
The incident is particularly embarrassing because Zimbabwe has half the population of Ghana, and as a country renowned for its poverty with a total GDP of not more than US$22 billion and a per-capita GDP of US$1,463.99, most people were expecting Ghana to be a step up for such a lecturer.
Although Ghana is twice as populous as Zimbabwe, Ghana’s GDP of US$ 66.98 billion is triple that of Zimbabwe, while Ghana’s per capita GDP is twice that of Zimbabwe at US$ 2,202.
Essentially, despite its poverty and small economy in comparison to Ghana, Zimbabwe pays its lecturers two times more than what their counterparts earn in Ghana.
The UTAG went on strike for almost two weeks because they claim that it was agreed in 2012 it was agreed that their basic and Market Premium of a lecturer in Ghana should be pegged at $2,084.42 but the government has since failed and had turned that agreement into a hide-and-seek game, UTAG complained bitterly.
It is unclear what levels of basic salaries the Akufo Addo administration had agreed to pay the lecturers as it pleaded with them to return to class.