We never cancelled trainee teachers’ allowances – Naana Opoku-Agyemang

The running mate to the flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, says the John Dramani Mahama government never scrapped trainee teachers’ allowances.

The issue of allowances for trainees was a major campaign issue prior to the 2016 general elections and has risen after the nomination of Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang.

According to Madam Opoku-Agyemang, the allowances were replaced with students’ loan for all trainees to enable the country to produce more teachers to meet the high demand for teachers in the country.

She made the claim while addressing tertiary students in Bolgatanaga in the Upper East Region on a two-day working visit.

She further said the replacement of the allowance with the student loan increased the number of trainees enrolled astronomically.

“I will come to a sensitive subject which I think should be dead by now. We [NDC] never cancelled teacher trainees’ allowance. Cancelling means that you have something and I came to take it away from you. This is the last time I am going to talk about this because we never did that. You know very well that those who were on the loan scheme continued to enjoy it until they graduated. So we never took anything away from them. We gave one year notice to those who were coming that we were going to give you loans and added means. Today how much do you get and how much are they taking from you?”

“Those in the training schools are crying over fees. We will be open to you. We will be honest with you. We want you to know what you are coming into. We will not lure you through the door and then begin to tell you stories,” she said.

Mahama promises to maintain allowances

Mr. Mahama recently said his government will not discontinue the payment of allowances to teacher trainees and nurses should he be elected President.

Speaking during one of his interactive digital conversations dubbed ‘Let’s talk with JM’, Mahama said his government won’t cancel the allowances should he be elected as President in the upcoming elections.

“You know that it was a very critical issue in the run-up to the 2016 elections. What I had said was we were going to migrate the health trainees and educational trainees to the student loan scheme. Now what I have said going up to the 2020 elections is that we are going to let the status quo remain. It means that we are going to continue paying trainee allowances, but we will improve the student loan and adapt it so that it serves the same purpose as the allowances.”

“So we will increase the amount under the Student Loan Trust [Fund] and then instead of giving it to you as a lump sum, we will give it to you at regular intervals so that you continue to use it for the things you use it for. So, once we have done it and it’s attractive and it’s good enough for you, then we will now do the migration onto the student loan scheme. So for now, if I become the President on January 7, 2021, we will maintain the status quo. It means that we will continue to pay the allowances and when we have improved and made it attractive for all students to go for it, then we will now do the migration onto the student loan scheme. So that’s my position on it as of now,” he said.

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