Contrary to claims by President Mahama, the education ministry and many government communicators that teacher trainees are receiving feeding grants to lessen the burden emanating from the scraping of their allowances, it has emerged that they are yet to receive such grants.
To this end, teacher trainees in the country have urged the government and its communicators to desist from such ‘dishonest and propaganda tactics’ and channel their resources into honouring their promises.
Addressing the media in Ho on Wednesday, the Volta Regional president of the Teacher Trainee Association of Ghana (TTAG), Melesusu Elikem Derrick, said although government claims to have substituted the allowances with feeding grants for the trainees three times daily, they (grants) had not been forthcoming.
He said, “…from the inception of this new reform by the government from 2014 till date (2016), three semesters of feeding grants are still in arrears.”
This delay, he noted, had compelled their principals to include feeding fees on their bills. More so, due to government’s inability to disburse utility subventions to the colleges of education, the trainees are also being billed for utilities.
Elikem added that final-year trainees currently on teaching practice in various communities across the country had been made to bear the entire related expenses without any subventions.
“Level 300 students currently serving the nation on their final-year attachment have to pay a one-year rent for their accommodation since the government has not made any provision to house them after their course on campus,” he disclosed.
The TTAG president said the decision to scrap their allowances was rather overstretching them since the funds from the student’s loan scheme were woefully inadequate.
“We want to state unequivocally that what is given as the student loan is far less than what we pay as fees. The amount of money received as loan per semester is from GH¢300 to GH¢450 as against the exorbitant semester school fee which ranges from GH¢860 to GH¢1,123,” he lamented.
“What beats our imagination as trainees is the dust that government communicators continue to throw into the eyes of Ghanaians that they are indeed catering for the trainees.
We want to caution all government communicators to stop their propaganda on the issue of teacher trainees because it is only he that wears the shoes that knows how it pinches,” according to Mr Elikem Derrick, who asked government to act quickly before they ‘explode.’
NPP To Restore Allowances
Meanwhile, the vice presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, has reiterated that the party’s resolve to restore allowances to teacher and nursing trainees is non-negotiable.
According to him, it is the priority of an NPP government to restore the allowances. He said, “…in the very first budget in the year 2017, we will restore teacher and nursing training allowances.”
He also described the scraping of the allowances by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government as a “mistake and rush decision to close the gap created by the mismanagement of the country’s finances.”
Dr. Bawumia, who was speaking on Ho-based Tosh Fm last Thursday, was not happy that teacher and nursing trainees were being made to pay the price of economic mismanagement by the NDC government. “The NDC must be made to pay the price in November when they are voted out,” he urged.
He noted that although the government claimed the new system was to admit more students, the reverse is happening as students are unable to report to school because of their inability to pay their fees.
From Fred Duodu, Ho (firstname.lastname@example.org)