President of the Teacher Trainee Association of Ghana (TTAG), Jonathan Dunu, has revealed that the Teacher Trainee Allowance due students has been in arrears for the last four months.
He noted that the Association is oblivious as to when the outstanding arrears would be paid as it is yet to meet the authorities to deliberate on the issue. That notwithstanding, he intimated that the Association is optimistic that engagement on the matter will take place from next week Monday.
“We have four months of arrears of the allowances and that is not because the economy is in crisis. This is a new administration and we are yet to meet them. We met with the student loans and they said it will be paid, but for now, we were not given a specific date”.Jonathan Dunu
His comments followed calls for the abolishing of the Teacher Trainees Allowance as a result of the economic hardship in the country.
Commenting on the alleged abolishing of the allowance scheme by the Ministry of Education, Mr Dunu explained that the scrapping of the scheme will be detrimental to the students who depend on the allowances for survival. Citing an instance, the TTAG President expressed that some students have not been able to gain access to their last semester results because they could not pay their exams fees.
“Taking it off will create a different problem. Are you looking at the consequences you are putting on the students too? We are from poor homes, so the allowances are what most students depend on… So, when you do that, you are pushing the students into a tight corner”.Jonathan Dunu
Earlier scrapping of teachers’ trainees allowance scheme
In January this year, the Ministry of Education, revealed that it has no intention of scrapping the payment of teacher trainee allowance. Spokesperson for the Ministry, Kwasi Kwarteng, intimated that in spite of the rumours, government was still paying the allowance to trainee teachers. He explained that the scrapping of the allowance does not guarantee an automatic solution to challenges faced by Colleges of Education in the country.
Mr Kwarteng noted that although some people are calling for the removal of the allowance, there have been other studies making a “very strong case for it”, noting that there are students who make purchases of essentials such as books and hand-outs with these allowances.
Contrarily, President of policy think tank IMANI Africa, Franklin Cudjoe, has advocated for the scrapping of the allowance. He highlighted that among other challenges, the Colleges of Education are struggling with infrastructure deficit due to resources not being used to address challenges in the schools.
Following this, he underscored that government should let “people take loans and pay back”. This, he noted, would not be a new phenomenon as most university graduates had to resort to that option to complete their education.
“I don’t see why I should be feeding grownup people wanting to be teachers and at the same time giving them money for attendance. I don’t think that is a good use of our money; either scrap or reorder the payment of these allowances through the private means”.Franklin Cudjoe