The General Secretary of the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) has sent a clear signal to critics, the government will not be persuaded to restore the payment of teacher trainee allowances.
Some Deputy Ministers; Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa and Felix Kwakye Ofosu were heckled at the Wesley College in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region over the matter.
The Vice Presidential candidate of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has hinted an NPP government will restore the teacher trainee allowances when voted to govern the nation in 2016.
Teacher trainees have vowed to vote against the NDC government if it fails to restore the payment of their allowances before the 2016 general elections.
Asiedu Nketia has however served notice that nothing will change the mind of government over the matter since the withdrawal of the allowances made no political, social and economic sense.
“I don’t see any political wisdom in continuing to utilize the resources we have in paying the privileged few and limiting the number of trainee students to 9,000 and be paying them allowances of top…it doesn’t make sense,” he stressed.
He indicated that the allowance was a constraining factor that was limiting the number of students the existing 38 teacher trainee colleges could admit.
According to him, because of the payment of the allowances, training colleges before last year could not admit to their full capacity since a large student population will put pressure on the government purse.
The allowances were introduced to attract people to apply but Asiedu Nketia stated that that reason has lost its relevance.
During the era of the payment of allowances, all the 38 colleges admitted about 9,000 students but after its removal in 2014, admissions have increased to about 15,000 and the government is looking to admit about 20,000 this year.
Bawumia is ignorant
But Asiedu Nketia expressed grave disappointment at Dr. Bawumi’s pronouncements on the matter saying, “I’m sure Dr. Bawumia will lose my respect on that trajectory because even his own political tradition does not support the pronouncements that he is making all over the place.”
He recalled that the NDC’s ex-President John Rawlings re-introduced teacher trainee allowances after it was scrapped by Ghana’s one time Prime Minister, Kofi Abrefa Busia.
“We have maintained that we introduced this teacher trainee allowances and we know the reason why we introduced those allowances and we are saying that the reasons are no longer tenable and indeed, the allowances have rather become a stumbling block for the achievement of the education for all policy,” he said.
He continued saying, “Tthat is the basis for the removal of the allowances so if Dr. Bawumia is making pronouncements that are not based on his understanding of the problems of the education sector, then he better goes to learn about the educational sector well, his own political traditions and I am sure he will get to know that it is Dr. Busia who removed the allowances that were being paid under President Nkrumah’s regime.”
By: Efua Idan Osam/citifmonline.com/Ghana