Departure of Akker not a political issue

6th June 1997 at 01:00
We have noted the press reports of the departure of John Akker from his post of general secretary of the National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education. We feel the matter should be put in perspective.

The general secretary is, in effect, the chief executive of the organisation and, as such, is responsible for the organisation's effectiveness, performance and movement forward.

There appears to be no evidence that the event was politically motivated and it, therefore, cannot be viewed as a political issue. The outcome of the resignation from the post, with an agreed financial settlement, has become a way of dealing in a civilised way with those who resign their posts.

There has been some media hype which was, in at least one respect, misleading. John Akker would not be described as a "moderniser". No evidence was offered in support of this claim and we know of none.

NATFHE has gone through a number of difficult years as it has tried to respond to the massive structural and policy changes that have taken place in the further and higher education sectors. This agenda so created is still under active consideration and is rapidly being added to by the new Government.

The treatment of John Akker appears to have been fair and the issue must now be regarded as at an end. NATFHE must move forward with a new general secretary with a central focus on the current and developing educational agenda. The new general secretary must work with the new executive dealing with the issues of expanding the further and higher education service to meet the Government's agenda on education, training and extended opportunity; structural problems of sectoralisation and modernisation of the organisation; the development of relations with other unions.

MALCOLM LEE, KEN THOMAS, KEN CHILDERHOUSE, MIKE FARMER, RAY GRACE, KEITH SINGLETON

former NEC members of the National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education

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