The Teacher Trainee Association of Ghana (TTAG) has vowed to campaign to ensure the exit of President John Mahama from the FlagStaff House after the 2016 elections, “if his government doesn’t restore our allowance.”
According to the student body, the scrapping of the allowance by the government has inflicted on them “unbearable hardships”, warning that “over 35,000 of us will advice ourselves” if the government fails to bring back the teacher trainee allowance scheme.
Osei Daniel Kofi, the National President of TTAG told a news conference in Accra yesterday that the scrapping of the allowance had made it impossible for the teacher trainees to meet their financial obligations.
“It is a fact that in view of the cancellation of our allowances, teacher trainees in the country are going through an unprecedented excruciating hardship in meeting their financial obligations at the various colleges of education,” lamented Daniel Kofi at the news conference.
He continued: “Currently, second years are preparing to go on out-segment and they are expected to pay for their own accommodation, feeding, utilities, teaching and learning materials and pay other statutory college fees within this period. “This weighty financial nightmare is not only frustrating, but has left many of us helpless and highly uncertain of our ability to complete our training,” he added.
President John Dramani Mahama has, however, explained that the withdrawal of the teacher trainee allowance in Colleges of Education was strategic, as it would offer admission to more students in the colleges.
Addressing the fourth Quadrennial National Delegates conference of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) in 2014, he said that the withdrawal was necessitated by the perennial shortage of teachers, particularly in the rural areas.
“The withdrawal of the allowances of the teacher trainees has so far reduced the burden on the government to move the admission of teacher trainees from 9,000 students last year to 15,000 students this academic year,” President Mahama told the conference.
Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) vice presidential candidate on his part said the removal of the allowance by the government meant the government is insensitive to the plight of the teacher trainees.
He assured that when the NPP regains power in 2016 the allowance will be restored. “When we come in and restore the nursing training allowance, it will be for everyone. When we come in and restore the teacher training allowance, it will be for everyone .”
Addressing journalists on the conduct of some of its members towards Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, the deputy Minister of Education in charge of tertiary –Mr. Kofi denied media reports that the former was humiliated during the 3rd edition of ‘Campus Connect Series’ at Wesley College of Education, Kumasi.
He argued that no teacher trainee at the said event threw sachet water at the Deputy Minister, neither was any government official chased to his or her car. The President of TTAG said what happened at the event “was only but a natural and genuine expression of spontaneity of general helplessness, indignation, resentment, disenchantment and desperation of teacher trainees due to the government’s actions and inactions and NOT a politically orchestrated action as alleged.”
He assured that [they] as teachers would never resort to insolence in seeking redress to issues affecting them. He, therefore, called on all their constituents across the country to continue to exercise restraints, whilst they explore other means to get their concerns addressed by the government. “It is our hope and conviction that the government as social democratic government would reconsider the unpopular decision of doing away with our allowances.”
Source: The Chronicle.