While we wholly empathise with our noble Teachers over their grievances, it is quite unfortunate and somewhat retrogressive for any forward-thinking and committed leader to contemplate of cancelling the Teacher Licensure Examination, introduced in 2018 to ensure quality and professionalism in the educational sector.
Of course, the Teachers have every right to air their grievances over the Licensure Examination if they so wish.
The way forward, however, is by taking the necessary steps to address the concerns of the Teachers, and if possible modify the examination, but not to cancel the seemingly useful programme, which will ensure quality and professionalism in the educational sector.
In fact, I felt enormous torment on hearing that Mahama has unfortunately added the Teacher Licensure Examination to his tall list of progressive policies and programmes he will cancel in the event of returning to the Jubilee House in 2025. How unfortunate?
My dear reader, let us remind ourselves that it was former President Mahama who found it somewhat necessary to cancel the Teachers and Nurses Allowances while in office.
So we were extremely surprised when prior to the 2020 general elections, the NDC promised to restore the Nurses and Teachers Allowances the administration deliberately cancelled in somewhere 2015, which the incumbent president, Akufo-Addo restored on assumption of office in 2017.
If you may remember, Ex-President Mahama vowed, somewhat unequivocally, not to restore the allowances, and that he would rather prefer to lose the 2016 general elections than to offer stipends to the Trainees.
Despite the countless supplications by the Trainee Teachers and Nurses, the former president decided to spurn their earnest pleas and went ahead and cancelled the poverty alleviation allowances.
But lo and behold, the dispirited Trainee Nurses and Teachers found a redeemer in Nana Akufo-Addo, who promised wholeheartedly to restore the allowances if voted into office in 2016.
As it was expected, the disheartened Trainee Teachers and Nurses reposed their absolute trusts in the candidate Nana Akufo-Addo to set them free from the untold economic hardships and massively voted him into power on 7th December 2016.
True to his word, a few months into his administration, President Akufo-Addo graciously restored the allowances to the utter delight of the Trainee Teachers and Nurses.
It would thus appear that the NDC is against any poverty alleviation policy and programme that the NPP administration has initiated and implemented.
If we revisit memory lane, one particular campaign message that dominated the 2008, 2012 and 2016 general elections was the poverty alleviation Free SHS.
While candidate Akufo-Addo and his NPP were promising on all those occasions to implement Free SHS if voted into power, the then candidate Mahama and his NDC were all over the place campaigning vigorously against the policy.
Interestingly, however, Ghanaians mistakenly bought into NDC’s ‘message’ in two consecutive elections (2008 and 2012) and turned down the seemingly advantageous Free SHS offer.
Nevertheless, on 7th December 2016, the good people of Ghana saw the light and gave the Free SHS ‘promiser’ (Akufo-Addo) a massive endorsement.
To his credit though, within a year into his four year mandate, President Akufo-Addo commendably implemented the Free SHS to the delight of Ghanaian parents and their children.
Disappointingly, however, no less a person than Ex-President Mahama has conveniently and persistently been criticising Akufo-Addo for implementing the Free SHS policy, allegedly, at the expense of other developmental projects (see: ‘Free SHS crippling other sectors-Mahama, classfmonline.com/ghanaweb.com, 24/02/2018).
Former President Mahama was quoted to have lamented during one of the NDC’s 2018 unity health walks: “The problem this government is facing and it is in their own interest, is that, Free Senior High School is absorbing all the fiscal space they have and so almost every money you have, you are having to put it into Free Senior High School. So you can’t pay District Assemblies Common Fund, you can’t pay NHIS (National Health Insurance Scheme), you can’t pay GET Fund (Ghana Education Trust Fund), you can’t pay other salaries and things because all your money is going into Free Senior High School.”
Observers can draw and adverse inference from the preceding criticisms that Mahama and the NDC as a party do not fancy the Free SHS, and therefore they are not ready to spend huge amount of money to run the policy.
There is no denying or hiding the fact that NDC has a penchant for running down or cancelling crucial social interventions. It is a sad case of social democrats who do not know how to initiate and manage social interventions.
The NDC apparatchiks, who bizarrely take pride in the social democratic ideology, are not in the business of promoting the welfare of the masses, but they are rather on a mission to advance their parochial interests by persistently proselytising and hoodwinking the unsuspecting voters to gain electoral advantage.
The erstwhile NDC government wilfully cancelled/collapsed the Nurse’s Allowance, the Teacher’s Allowance, SADA, GYEEDA, NHIS, the Maternal Care, the School Feeding programme, the Mass Transport System, amongst others.
Since the inception of the Fourth Republican Constitution, the self-proclaimed social democrats have been opposing social interventions that have been proposed by the successive NPP governments such as the Free Maternal Care, the NHIS, the Metro Mass Transport, the School Feeding Programme, the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP), , the Free SHS, amongst others.
Given the circumstances, it will not come as a huge surprise at all, if the future NDC government decides to cancel the Free SHS and the Teachers and Nurses Allowances altogether.
K. Badu, UK.