Mr. Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, the general secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), has chastised the Akufo-Addo-led government for being economical with the truth regarding its recent promise to re-introduce teacher training allowance come the beginning of September, this year.
According to him, the government’s recent promise to use the Student Loan Trust Fund to pay the allowance of trainee teachers in the country is in sharp contrast with the promises made by the NPP in its manifesto and in a way going back to implement former President Mahama’s program for trainee teachers.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, at the 21st Congregation Ceremony of the University of Education, Winneba, over the weekend, revealed that his government would restore the teaching profession to the status it once enjoyed and make it attractive to people who want to take it up as career.
He then mentioned that, as part of the government policy of motivating teachers and rewarding their hard work in the classroom, his government will be re-introducing the teacher training allowance that was cancelled by the previous government.
The payment of teacher trainee allowance for 2013/2014 academic year was scrapped under the Mahama administration and replaced with loans from the Student Loan Trust Fund (SLTF) with the intention of boosting enrolment in the various colleges of education and reduce the financial burden on the government.
The then Deputy Minister of Education in the erstwhile NDC government, Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, said with the scrapping of the allowances and the quota system, enrolment into the colleges of education increased from 27,000 to 47,000 in the 38 colleges.
But the NPP, during its 2016 election campaign, insisted that the country still needed more teachers and nurses and pledged to introduce the allowances, since they served as motivation for many to attend nursing colleges and colleges of education.
However, speaking during an interview with this paper, Mr. Asiedu Nketiah, aka ‘General Mosquito,’ noted that the NPP government is embarking on a deceptive move to create the impression that they are fulfilling the campaign promises they made to trainee teachers.
General Mosquito explained that teacher trainee students at University of Education, Winneba and University Cape Coast are already on Student Loan Scheme, a privilege that is not enjoyed by trainee students attending the 38 teacher training institutions in the country.
He said trainee teachers in the 38 teacher training institutions were rather on the Student Loan Trust Fund (SLTF) and per the operation of the fund, students who access the fund are made to pay back their loans after their training, a move the NDC government under former president John Mahama abolished with the sole intention of moving students from the 38 teacher training institutions onto the Student Loan Scheme to join their colleagues from Winneba and Cape Coast Universities because these institutions have been upgraded to tertiary status of which the NPP back then in opposition protested against vehemently.
The NDC Chief Scribe strongly believes that the re-instatement of the teacher training allowance come September 2017 is one of the deceptive tactics deployed by NPP government to create the impression that they are fulfilling their promises to trainee teachers.