Professor Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang, the running mate to former President John Mahama of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), has said the NDC government did not cancel the teacher trainee allowance.
She said the allowance was only replaced with a student loan scheme that provided the opportunity for more youth to be trained to enable the country produce more teachers and nurses to fill the deficit in the schools and health facilities at the time.
“The trainee allowances were never cancelled, they were substituted with loans,” she said.
She said the data at the time showed that only 40 per cent of applicants could get admission into the colleges of education because principals of these colleges had no space to admit more and even if they could, the government couldn’t pay the allowances if they admitted all qualified applicants.
“We gave one year notice to those who were coming in that we were going to give loans and we added meals, now how much are you taking and how much are they taking from you,” she said.
Prof Opoku-Agyemang since her nomination as NDC running mate, there were serious criticisms from some members of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) that she spearheaded the cancellation of the Teacher and nurse trainee allowance.
Professor Opoku-Agyemang was addressing some tertiary students in Bolgatanga, the Upper East Region, as part of a two-day tour of the region.
The former education minister said 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.
She said due to the decision taken by 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 said, “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.”
Professor Opoku-Agyemang stated that the educational transformation, which was started by the previous government, including the upgrading of 13 Technical Institutes were targeted at training the youth to have skills that meet the evolving market.
The running mate was accompanied by Mr Alex Segbefia, the former Minister of Health and Deputy Campaign Manager of the party for the 2020 elections, Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, Member of Parliament (MP) for North Tongu and former Deputy Minister of Education, Mrs Emilia Authur, former Deputy Regional Minister, Mr Isaac Adongo, MP for Bolgatanga Central, Hajia Lardi Ayii Ayamba, MP for Pusiga and party executives.
Story Credit: Ghana News Agency (GNA)