Drama unfolded at the forecourt of the Western Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) yesterday when frustrated teacher trainees gathered there in their numbers and blatantly told the Deputy Regional Minister, Alfred Ekow Gyan, that his government has nothing good to offer them.
‘We are highly disappointed in your government, in that, despite several appeals by the teacher trainees and other stakeholders to rescind its decision to scrape our allowance, it still remains intransigent,’ they remarked.
The irate teacher trainees later formed a human circle, raised their fingers in the air and shouted in unison, ‘Whether President Mahama likes it or not we will use our thumbs to remove him from office because he has nothing good to offer teachers.’
This was after the leadership of the teacher trainees had presented a petition to the Deputy Regional Minister, Alfred Ekow Gyan.
Hundreds of the teacher trainees from the Western and Central regions defied a heavy downpour in the Sekondi-Takoradi metropolis yesterday to embark on the demonstration in the principal streets of the metropolis.
The protest by the teacher trainees was to register their deepest displeasure about the scraping of the teacher trainees’ allowance and call for its immediate restoration.
Wearing t-shirts of their respective teacher training colleges and red arm bands, the demonstrators carried placards some of which read, ‘We want our allowance back,’ ‘If you can read and write, thank the teacher,’ ‘Oh Mahama, Why?’ ‘Mahama has failed teachers’ and ‘If no allowance, why feeding fee?’
Speaking to DAILY GUIDE in separate interviews, some of the demonstrators alleged that the current government was insensitive to their plights, in that, after scraping their allowance, the government had failed to honour its promise of absorbing their feeding fees.
Mark Oboh, General Secretary of the Teacher Trainees Association of Ghana, presenting the petition on behalf of his colleagues regretted that about 40 per cent of level 100 students in some of the training colleges were staying at home because they could not afford the fees.
‘Even those who reported were sent home because they could also not pay the exorbitant feeding fees. This has affected academic work greatly,’ he alleged.
Mr Oboh continued, ‘It will not be in the interest of our nation for this allowance scheme to be scraped. Therefore this hasty political decision should not be visited on the innocent families of vulnerable Ghanaians.’
He explained that the allowance had served as a poverty alleviation intervention over the years, as families that could not afford the exorbitant fees of other tertiary institutions, sent their wards to the teacher training colleges.
‘We therefore want to state emphatically that the teacher trainees’ allowance should be reintroduced immediately,’ he stressed.
Receiving the petition, Mr Gyan promised to give their concerns the necessary attention.
From Emmanuel Opoku, Takoradi
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