General News of Tuesday, 7 March 2017
A group known as Disappointed Teacher Trainees Association of Ghana has expressed its disappointment in the Akufo-Addo administration over what it claims is the government’s deceitful posture with regards to the restoration and payment of allowances for students of the country’s colleges of education.
Famous Tumi Acquah, the Western Regional Communications Officer for the Association, has said although the government has earmarked some money to pay their allowances as indicated in the budget statement presented to parliament by Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta, the amount falls short of the real amount that was scrapped by the previous government.
According to him, per their calculation, each teacher trainee would be paid GHS198 for the whole year, an amount that is below the GHS450 they previously received.
This, he said, was not the assurance they were given by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) ahead of the 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections.
The John Mahama-led government cancelled the payment of the allowance in its bid to increase enrollment into the various colleges of education.
The then Deputy Minister of Education (Tertiary), Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, explained at the time that the payment of the allowance was counter-productive because only a limited number of students the government could pay were admitted into the colleges whereas the country needed to train more teachers to take up the vacancies in the public schools across the country.
But the then presidential candidate of the NPP, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, promised to restore the allowance, for which reason the students said they voted for him and his party. Mr Akufo-Addo subsequently won the 2016 poll by an unprecedented 53.85 percent of valid votes cast, taking office on January 7, 2017.
Speaking in an interview with host Chief Jerry Forson on Ghana Yensom on Accra100.5FM, Tumi-Acquah said: “We are extremely disappointed because we feel the government has short-changed us.
“When we did the calculation after the budget statement had been read by the minister, we realised that each teacher trainee would be paid GHS198 a month, much less than the amount we were paid, which was between GHS420 and GHS450. This is not what we were told ahead of the elections.
“We were also promised that the payment would be done in their first 100 days in office, but as has been stated in the budget, the payment will be done in September.”