The Trainee Teachers in Ghana are lamenting over the new directive that indicate they are expected to feed themselves commencing May 8, 2022 as a result of a halt in food supply despite their unpaid allowance for the past 7 months.
Reacting to the directive, the National President of the Teacher Trainee Association, Jonathan Dzunu, indicated that the students are very unhappy with the decision. He indicated that they received the letter from PRINCOF but are not in support of the directive.
“Yes, we understand that they are also in a situation and for them, that’s the best way they can handle the issue but to our end, we do not agree. Where will the students get the money from? Even if you are saying you’ll give them breakfast and lunch, where will they get super? If you say you’ll give them lunch only where will they get breakfast and supper?”Jonathan Dzunu
Mr Dzunu lamented that as allowances have not been paid, the students in question cannot cater for themselves as they are already struggling due to the arrears owed them. He disclosed that the allowance for the trainee teachers is GHS400, however, GHS200 is deducted for feeding leaving the trainee students with GHS200. “It’s 7 months in arrears now. So, if you’re asking them to feed themselves, ask yourself that, where they are going to get the money from?”
Jonathan Dzunu commenting on PRINCOF’s directive to food vendors to increase their quantity to be sold since the students will buying from them more, he stated that it still wouldn’t solve the problem. He explained since the students do not have the finances to cater for themselves, they cannot in anyway afford these meals.
“I keep saying that if this issue is not handled well and the students are still on the campuses and these measures are rolled out, there will be a threat. There are over 8,000 students on these campuses who are going to get starved. They say a hungry man is an angry man.”Jonathan Dzunu
Issue must be handled carefully
Jonathan Dzunu appealed to the authorities to ensure the issue is handled carefully so it doesn’t escalate to a stage where they have to be running to find solutions. “Let’s solve it right now. Leadership should be seen right from here. That is our plea.”
The Teacher Trainees Association President further indicated that efforts are underway to engage the Education Ministry on the matter. He was optimistic that after the engagement, a solution will be proposed.
Jonathan Dzunu intimated that as PRINCOF has indicated that its hands are tied in this situation, the matter now lies with government to deal with. “We plan meeting them latest by Friday because the situation needs urgent attention.”
Mr Dzunu’s comments came after the National Conference of Principals of Colleges of Education – Ghana (PRINCOF) announced that it cannot continue feeding the trainees due to huge debts owed by the government. A letter signed by the Executive Secretary of PRINCOF, Dr. Harriet Naki Amui, and sent to the Minister of Education directed that teacher trainees must start funding their own feeding from May 8, 2022, if funds are not made available to them.
This directive, according to PRINCOF, has been necessitated in response to the inability of Colleges of Education to make payments for food items supplied to them. The statement indicated that food suppliers continued delivering supplies to these Colleges of Education for months without payment but they have finally withdrawn their services till they receive the monies owed them.