The Ghana Education Service (GES) has resorted to the use of virtual private network (VPN) to address the delay in the processing of data of newly recruited staff of the service to fast-track the payment of their salaries.
A VPN extends the privacy of a network across a public network and enables users to send and receive data across shared or public networks easily as if their computing devices are directly connected to the private network.
The technology will enable the GES staff capturing the data of the new recruits and other staff into the system to directly connect into the systems of the Controller and Accountant-General’s Department (CAGD) and the Public Services Commission (PSC) to speed up the work.
In an interview in Accra, the Director-General of the GES, Professor Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa, explained that the GES resorted to the solution to ensure that staff inputing the data of newly recruited staff and existing ones who had received promotions did so quickly.
“The VPN will help us connect to the CAGD network,” he explained, adding that without the VPN, it was impossible to connect to the CAGD network with ordinary Internet connectivity, not even the hi-speed fourth generation (4G) system.
“So for us to be able to connect to it, we need the VPN, so that if the National Information Technology Agency (NITA) connectivity is down and mobile network connectivity is up, the VPN will help us connect to the controller’s network,” he explained.
Prof. Opoku-Amankwa said the VPN was expected to resolve the current challenges as a short-term measure.
Newly recruited staff of the GES are yet to receive their first salaries since March last year, primarily because of the migration of the payroll system from the integrated personnel payroll data (IPPD) Two to the Human Resource Management Information System (HRMIS) and slow Internet connectivity which impedes the work of the data processing officials.
Slow Internet connectivity
Even though the PSC has given the green light for the processing of data of more than 7,000 newly recruited staff of the GES, slow Internet connectivity is retarding the processing of the data of the new staff.
It is to address the challenge of slow Internet connectivity that the GES is liaising with the PSC and the CAGD to enable the GES to use VPN to log onto the CAGD site to fast-track the processing of data.
The current challenges have left 9,619 newly recruited GES staff under the double track educational system who started work in November 2018 without their first salaries. Also included in the list are teachers who were recruited in March 2018.
An additional 22,701 staff of the service who were promoted last year are also yet to be placed on their right salary scales.
Prof. Opoku-Amankwa explained that the PSC was engaging the NITA and the Ministry of Finance, through the GIFMIS, to see how best they could facilitate the GES to get the VPN in all offices throughout the country.
The GIFMIS is an automated system used for public financial management. It interlinks planning, budgeting, expenditure management and control, accounting, audit and reporting.
He listed other measures taken by the GES as interventions to include the decision to work in the night by staff of the Payroll Unit of the service, the increment in the number of staff at the Payroll Unit to expedite the imputing of the data of the affected staff and the motivation of the officers directly in charge to expedite action and work around the clock to resolve the issues.
The current delay in payroll processes has caused delays in the issuing of staff identity cards (IDs) and the capturing of staff biometric data for the processing of salaries.
Although the GES smoothly migrated staff on its payroll onto the HRMIS under the GIFMIS, those with promotions and pay rise could not be effected as a result of the shift.