President John Dramani Mahama has refuted claims that government has scrapped teacher trainee allowance meant for students in teachers’ training colleges in the country.
According to him, what his government did was to “swap” and not “scrap” the policy as teacher trainees could access funds from the Students Loan Trust to finance their education just like students in any tertiary institution.
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Addressing students of the University of Education, Winneba as part of his ‘Accounting to the People tour’ in the Central region, Mahama explained that swapping the allowance with the loan scheme will help address the inequality in funding teacher education at all levels in the country.
He explained that, “The problem with the payment of the allowance is that apart from the huge cost implication for the national budget, it also compels governments over the years to scale down the number of students entering into the college of education.”
Explaining further, President Mahama indicated that, “All the colleges were given a quota up to which they could admit because of the implication for the national budget. This system meant that even highly qualified SHS graduates willing and able to enroll as teacher trainees found themselves wickedly denied access because the colleges could not admit them as a result of the quota system.”
He stressed that the payment was a limitation which denied many the chance of achieving their dreams as teachers so as to be able to care for their families. He explained that “when he came into office, he found that the thirty eight colleges of education were in fact operating at less than 40% of their capacity while thousands of eligible students sat at home. It was for this reason that his government had to act decisively in order to address the unjust and unfair imbalance. To achieve this, they decided to swap the teacher training allowances with the student loan scheme as it is operating in all other universities that train teachers. By so doing, government will be able to plough back the Ghc282 million that would have been paid to teacher trainees in expanding education so that we can employ more teachers.
The President said that the move was very necessary as more money is needed to build more schools, and the amount of money spent on the teacher trainee allowance alone would go a long way in achieving this if ploughed back. He added that the replacement of the teacher trainee allowance not only led to increased intake of teacher trainees, it has also reduced pressure on government budget.