The Vice Presidential candidate of the New patriotic Party, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia who was scheduled to address the teacher trainees of the Dambai College of Education in the Volta Region on Monday was given the shock of his life when he was not allowed access to the school premises.
On inquiry for the reason for that, the party’s Volta Regional Chairman was told orally by the school principal that the order is from the government.
This move by the government is however perceived by the NPP and their supporters as a way of trying to stop the opposition party from driving home to the right audience, their campaign promise of putting back into place, the scrapped teacher trainee allowances.
The Mahama led National Democratic Congress administration has scrapped teacher trainees allowances and replaced it with the Students Loan Scheme, saying that decision is aimed at boosting enrollment into the colleges. According to reports, government also said that colleges of education are now upgraded, therefore, teacher trainees must apply for student loans the same way their Universities and polytechnics counterparts do.
However, the NPP insists that their reason is not a cogent one. They rather accused the present administration of mismanagement of funds which resulted to their inability to meet up with paying the teacher trainees their allowances.
Notwithstanding the blockade, Bawumia was not stopped from achieving his aim of visiting the school as the students voluntarily came out from the premises in great number (over one thousand of them) to a nearby park where they listened to the campaign speeches.
It is true that according to the guidelines of the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service (GES), political activities are mostly not permitted in basic and second cycle institutions, the NPP still insists that not allowing them access into the college campus is a scheme by the incumbent NDC administration.
While stressing this opinion, the NPP’s National Youth Organiser, Sammy Awuku told Eyewitnesses News that he could recall that President Mahama who was the vice presidential candidate of the NDC in 2008, was allowed to carry out campaigns in colleges. His words:
We are in the Volta Region for a whole week to visit the Colleges of Education and also for us to restore hope and assure them that an NPP administration will restore the teacher trainees and nurses allowance.
Strangely in 2008, President Mahama who was then vice presidential nominee of his party, was given full access to the various campuses. In fact, he came to the Dambai College of Education in 2008, so we are surprised that suddenly, orders from above have stopped us from entering the College.
The Principal told us verbally that we can’t come into the campus but we can do that at a nearby park so the students themselves built a canopy outside and we did that there. We had over 1,000 chairs and the whole place was full with others standing.”
However, Dr Bawumia in his address, assured the students of the teacher training college that the NPP administration will ensure that the allowances are restored if they are given the mandate to rule Ghana in the upcoming elections.
According to Mr Awuku, Bawumia has also scheduled to speak to students of the Jasikan College of Education today, being Tuesday. As the condition there is same as that of the one at Dambai College, they will also make alternative arrangements on how to meet the students outside the school premises.
We are making alternative arrangement to speak to them at a nearby location. And the good thing about it is that, the students themselves are aware of what is happening and they are ready to come to the nearby location to listen to us,” Awuku said.