Teacher trainees on nationwide strike over allowance.
Teacher trainees have declared a nationwide indefinite strike action over Government’s insistence to withdraw their allowance.
The strike begins on Monday May 18, when the 38 training colleges across the country would be re-opening.
National President of the Teacher Trainees Association of Ghana, TTAG, Daniel Osei Kofi says the strike will involve the over 48,000 trainees across the country.
In an interview with TV3’s News In Brief Thursday morning, he warned of dire consequences for the education sector if government fails to restore the allowance.
Below is a full statement by TTAG
The Teacher Trainees’ Association of Ghana wishes to ,for the last time reiterate its clarion call on the Mahama-led government to as a matter of urgency, reinstate the scrapped teacher trainees’ allowances due to the following reasons :
1)Most parents cannot afford the cost of sponsoring their wards at the colleges of education as we speak.
2)The allowances withdrawal have driven away competent prospective teacher trainees to attend other tertiary institutions now that cost of acquiring diploma in colleges of education is much higher than other tertiary institutions.
3) The current level 100 & 200 trainees have to vacate classes to look for money to foot unbearable bills therefore impacting negatively on their training. They report late after re-opening or at best after registration, they always go back home to work for their fees and the repercussion of this on their training is negatively huge.
4)No allowance for teacher trainees also means they cannot be posted to “wherever their services are needed”. They now have a choice to decide where they want to go. Remember “he who pays the piper calls in the tune”; the government has not paid the teacher and for that matter cannot dictate where the teacher should be posted to. Hence, the rural communities would continue to lack the professional teachers. This is what we as an association do not want to.
5)Teacher trainees are special schools that churn out professionals specifically for the basic school. They are given special training geared towards the up-bringing of children, it is expected that the government should be fair in its treatment of its citizens. Because there are comparable professional institutions such as military training, police training and nursing training that are receiving allowances. So the adage; what is good for the goose is also good for the gander must apply. Failure to heed to our call would result in a total boycott of the training institutions by our constituents when schools resume on May 18, 2015. We have been compelled to take this drastic decision because we have exhausted all available avenues for the necessary redress but all in futility.
It is an indisputable fact that there has been innumerable calls on the government by several stakeholders including TTAG, Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) and other seasoned educationists to reconsider this unpopular move but surprisingly, the government remains belligerently intransigent in a typical “yentie obiaa” much to our chagrin.
It would indeed be recalled that we vociferously repeated same call for the reinstatement of the allowance at a recent press conference we organized on April 22, 2015 on a number of issues of grave concern to the Association where the issue of the allowance featured more prominently. However, government still pretends not to have heard us; not even to grant us audience.
None of our countless petitions to this government has received a single reply. Perhaps we don’t matter to them as recently fumed by the ruling party’s general secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketia who made the headline in the daily statesman on Monday April 27, 2015 that “there is no need in paying teacher trainees allowances” and one renowned NDC communicator by name Mr. Gbovovi Godwin who described teacher trainees as “good for nothing students” on Kumasi based Angel fm.
With strong vehemence, we contest government’s rationalization of this unpopular policy on the claims of increase in enrollment and demand further and better statistical particulars to prove that. Assuming without admitting that government’s claims are true, then that can only be one side of the coin because the negative implications of that policy on the trainees are unquantifiable and far outweighs the perceived positives it brings to the fore.
Unfortunately, government’s alternative measure to cushion trainees in the wake of the withdrawal of the allowance does very little to help the situation. For instance, a teacher trainee receives maximum of GHS 800 in a whole academic year from the Student Loan Trust Fund; yet that same student is expected to pay between GHS 2400 and GHS 3000 on the average within a year. How can such a student survive in the face of this which is coupled with unbearable cost of living in the country. The least said about the inherent bureaucracies associated with securing the loan facility, the better. Government has also shown very little or no commitment in paying trainees’ feeding grant despite the assurances we are always given. Principals are oftentimes compelled to charge trainees the cost of feeding since government’s commitments leaves a lot to be desired.
As we speak, our investigations reveal that only 15% of the trainees in level 100 and 200 (those who are directly affected by the withdrawal of the allowance) have been able to pay their fees for the academic year in full leaving the academic destiny of the remaining 85% in limbo. If they are unable to pay on time, then they certainly wouldn’t be allowed to take their end of semester exams. How bad can the situation get? No wonder the students now think that they better stay at home when schools reopen than report to campus and suffer this imminent embarrassment for no fault of theirs.
The woes of teacher trainees are further aggravated by government’s purported move to review the current posting regime which will now see (teachers) from the nation’s Colleges of Education searching for, after completion. Hmmm what offense have teacher trainees committed to this government to warrants all these sufferings? So not only are we refused allowance but we are also threatened with possible job insecurity after completion. May God save us.
We wish to conclude by repeating our age-long call on President John Dramani Mahama and the NDC government to heed to our demands by reinstating the allowance as soon as possible else face the wrath of the over 48,000 teacher trainees across the country. Not only are we refusing to go back to school, but will also rollout a number of public protestations until our demands are fully met.