The Vice Presidential Candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the 2020 elections, Professor Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang has said the John Mahama administration never scrapped the teacher trainee allowance.
The former Minister of Education said claims by persons that the allowances were removed hence their difficulties in school were lies and should be ignored.
Addressing members of the Tertiary Education Institutions Network (TEIN) student wing of the NDC at the Wesley College in Kumasi on Sunday April 24, she said “Education should never be handled as a matter of expediency, that is dangerous. You must make the right decisions because education is about the future. All of you sitting here young people, it is about your future.
“I need to emphasize that we never scrapped the allowance, we never took anybody’s money from them. All those who were receiving their allowances received them till they ended. So the people who came on air and said because of allowance they cannot pay pay their fees they were lying. I was saddened by that that young people could do that because nobody took their money from them. We gave the loan that was about twice what they were getting as allowance because we felt they needed loans.
It is unclear why she is saying this because Former President John Dramani Mahamaa while addressing students of the University of Ghana as part of his 2016 campaign in the Greater Accra region to seek reelection, justified the cancellation the allowance for teachers.
“We have upgraded the colleges of education into tertiary status and the fact is you can’t eat your cake and still have it; if you eat it, it is gone. And so you want to be colleges of education to award degrees like the others but at the same time we should discriminate against them and continue to pay you allowance while they take students loan. And so even on the basis of equity, it was important for us to replace the allowance with the loan so we can create equity.
“By withdrawing the allowances we have increased by 63 percent the number of young people who want to train as teachers. And infrastructure has also been expanded. This is often confused with the issue of nursing allowance. The nursing trainees were going to put on the student loan scheme but we realised that the students’ loan act does not allow for their institutions to benefit from the loan and so we are amending the act, as soon as that is done, they will also be put on it,” the President explained.
It is recalled after being sworn into office, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo announced that the restoration of teacher trainee allowances had taken effect from Tuesday September 12, 2017.
He said the restoration of the allowances is part of government’s efforts aimed at providing quality education under the free SHS programme.
Mr President said this at the launch of the Free SHS programme at the West African Senior High School (WASS) in Accra in 2017.
“Central to the prospects of this policy is the teacher. A well trained, confident and content teacher is essential in the delivery of quality education.
“If we are to succeed as a nation and if we accept that education is central to national development, then it is clear that quality teacher training is vital to our nation’s development,” he said.