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Opinion | Aug 8, 2018

Round Two Of A Harvest Bell; Teacher Trainee Allowance Going?

Mattew Opoku Prempeh, Education Minister
Mattew Opoku Prempeh, Education Minister

President Nana Akufo Addo has announced that beginning 2018/2019 academic year which is just about a month away, all Colleges of Education [CoEs] in the country will be upgraded to the status of University Colleges.

According to the President “a first degree will become the minimum requirement for teaching at any level of our education system” and that through an affiliation with University of Cape Coast [UCC], new entrants will pursue a 4-year Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) degree program.

Now, under the guise of actualizing the claimed status upgrade, the teacher trainee allowance stands to be scrapped and this move is ongoing without due consultation with some key stakeholders including the students.

The Government’s decision to scrap the teacher trainee allowance had further been boosted by no budgetary provisions for the allowance payment for the 2018/2019 academic year intake just as the continuing students in the 2018 mid-year budget review.

That Akufo Addo/Dr Bawumia Government can’t communicate the reasons to scrap the trainee allowance but will rely on “clandestine means” including upgrade to deny the allowance smacks of dishonesty, particularly being the biggest beneficiary of trainee allowance politics.

Trainee allowance played a critical role in the 2016 elections as the NPP as a party rode on the wings of its restoration to win political power.

The NPP after winning power in 2016 failed to honor the promise to pay trainee allowance within the first 3 months of assumption of office. It took the Government 10 months to start to pay the allowance; an amount per month which was even lower than previously paid and covered not the full year.

Also, there are issues of un-necessary delay in the payment of the teacher trainee allowances which has led to unimaginable delay, causing trainees unbearable hardship.

The unbearable hardship had forced one of the trainees, Moses Bondong to write “Mr. President, we’ve gathered dossiers that you’re on vacation in the UK with your beloved Rebecca, children and grandchildren. That’s beautiful but you’ve not taken care of your other children and grandchildren in the health training institutions, which is quite disturbing. It’s been 4 straight months and the health trainee’s allowances haven’t been paid. What is happening, Mr. President? It’s been so long and your other children and grandchildren are financially stranded in a maze.

Your Health Minister came on his rounds on the 29th of March, 2018 and promised these monies would be paid within two weeks from the time he visited, but as it stands not even a penny has been paid to any student for the past 4 months. This wasn’t what we voted for, Mr. President! We trusted you to deliver on your ‘Allawa’ promise. Do not forget we are part of the largest numbers who elected you during the 2016 elections simply because we trusted and bought into your policies. If you’ve forgotten, let’s remind you! No disappointments!”

Having the students in such difficult situations, the least expected of the greatest beneficiary of trainee allowance politics, the Akufo Addo/Dr Bawumia government is to renege on its own campaign promise; clandestinely withdrawing the allowance for the teacher trainees.

“If you have nothing to offer your in-law, you don’t rob her on top of it.” – An Akan proverb

Koku Mawuli Nanegbe
Koku Mawuli Nanegbe, © 2018

This author has authored 13 publications on Modern Ghana.
Author column: KokuMawuliNanegbe

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