President John Dramani Mahama has described as false, reports that government has scrapped allowances meant for teacher trainees 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.
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.
“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.”
“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.”
President Mahama stressed that the payment again denied many the chance of achieving their dreams as teachers so as to be able to care for their families.
“The quota system had therefore become a binding constraint hindering access to teacher training education. This state of affairs also deprived many from joining the noble profession and for securing a future for themselves and their families.
“When we came into office we found that the thirty eight colleges of education were in fact operating at less than 40% of their capacity while 1000s of eligible students sat at home. There was a need therefore for government to act decisively in order to address this unjust and unfair imbalance “.
“Government therefore 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 Ghc282milion that would have been paid to teacher trainees in expanding education so that we can employ more teachers. We need more money to build more schools, to build more community schools. We would have spent gthat to pay teacher trainees alone,” he added.
President Mahama added that the replacement of the teacher trainee allowance has again reduced pressure on government budget.
“The continuous payment of the allowance was inimical to the progress of teacher education in the country. Not only did it affect intake but also was a huge toll on government’s purse with government having to reduce the quota given the teacher training schools.”