General News of Tuesday, 21 February 2017
Former Deputy Education minister Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has claimed government is planning to cut down on the number of admissions to nursing and teacher training colleges.
He suggested the move is because government is concerned about an expected increase in enrolment into colleges of education when it restores the payment of teacher and nurse trainee allowance.
A high increase in enrolment rates would trigger a corresponding high increase in the payment of trainee allowances which government may not be ready to shoulder, he explained on Joy FM’s Newsnite programme Tuesday.
In other words, there could be a return to the quota system where public colleges of education and nursing trainee institutions admitted limited numbers despite the capacity of the facilities to admit more.
The North Tongu MP made the claim while assessing President Akufo-Addo’s maiden State of the Nation Address to Parliament early Tuesday morning.
In the address, the President reiterated a campaign promise to restore the payment of allowances this March, which the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government scrapped.
The controversial move, it is believed, cost the government votes as incensed students vowed to pay the NDC government back.
Nursing trainees hailed Akufo-Addo during the campaign
Under the allowance scheme, the nurses got at least GHC450 every quarter. Government had explained the removal of the allowance was to allow it to admit more students.
The allowances had tied the hands of government because huge numbers had serious financial implications.
Okudzeto said the observed effect of linking financial incentives to social or education programmes is that it shoots up participation.
This was the case under the School Feeding Programme where free meals to students saw a huge increase in school enrolment rates. The NDC government’s plan to introduce ‘progressively free education’ to Day students in Senior High School also saw significant increase in school enrolment rates.
The NPP’s plan to re-introduce the trainee allowances should expectedly lead to an increase in admission, the North Tongu MP said.
To deal with the financial implications, the NPP wants to cut back admissions which he indicated will have an undesired effect of lowering the number of teachers and nurses to be trained for public service.