Professor Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang, the running mate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), has described as false the claim that the NDC government during her tenure as the Education Minister canceled the teachers trainee allowance. According to her, the allowance was only replaced with a student loan scheme that provided the opportunity for more youth to be trained to enable the country to produce more teachers and nurses to fill the deficit in the schools and health facilities at the time.
She said “The trainee allowances were never canceled, they were substituted with loans.
“We never canceled teachers allowance; this thing should be dead by now. This is the last time I’m going to talk about this. Canceling means you have something and we came to take it away from you. We never did that. You know that those on the loan scheme continued to enjoy till they graduated. So we never took anything from them.” She stated that the allowances were replaced with students loan scheme for all trainees to enable the country save some money to produce more teachers to meet the country’s increasing need for trained teachers, saying the substitution of the allowance with students loan resulted in a situation where Ghana could produce 6000 trained teachers yearly.
“Those days principals of the training colleges had no space to admit more and even if they could, the government couldn’t pay for the allowances if they admitted all qualified applicants. So, why don’t we make it possible for more to be trained,” Prof Agyemang said.
Addressing some tertiary students in Bolgatanga, the Upper East Region, as part of a two-day tour of the region, she indicated that the NDC was an honest party that told the truth but was misconstrued by the present government, which is misinforming Ghanaians on the teacher and nurses’ trainee allowance.
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She said due to the decision taken by the government at the time, annual student enrolment at the various colleges increased from 9,000 to 15,400.
This created the opportunity for the less privileged to access education, she said, adding that enrolment had since declined considerably when the allowances were restored.
The running mate said the Mahama-led administration, which started the conversion of the Polytechnics into Technical Universities, was keen on pursuing Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) to produce highly skilled technicians.
She added: “in this day of the industry of automation how many low skilled persons is any government going to need, so why are we surprised that our youth don’t have jobs because the jobs that the low skilled people do are consistently being taken over by machines, so it means that we are investing in our youth to become unemployed.”
Source: Pulse Ghana