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General News of Thursday, 13 August 2020

Source: e.TV Ghana

Teacher training allowances not important when schools are under trees – Africa Education Watch

Executive Director at Africa Education Watch, Kofi Asare has questioned the government of Ghana on why students in teacher training institutions which have now been upgraded to University Colleges are still being paid allowances.

According to him, the upgrade must come with some changes with the cancellation of the teacher trainee allowance being the first step.

He believes the money which would have been used to pay these allowances can be invested in providing hundreds of school buildings to eradicate ‘schools under trees’ at the primary school level.

Speaking in an interview on the Happy Morning Show with Happy 98.9 FM’s Samuel Eshun, the educationist said, “We have developed fatigue from discussing the cancellation of teacher trainee allowances. Why should teachers benefit from allowances when there are still schools under trees in the country?”

Kofi Asare added that if the payment of teacher trainee allowances is put through the social policy test, it will come out as unsustainable and a waste of money. “How many primary schools have we built so far? We are currently investing in secondary education whilst investment in the basic school level has gone down to about 20 percent. We have to prioritize our spending,” he said.

He advised the government to encourage teacher trainees to apply for student loans rather than provide them with these allowances. “About 15 percent of students subscribe to student loans so why should it be different for teacher trainees?” he queried.

“The cancellation of the teacher trainee allowance will give the country a lot of reserves and that money can pay for more fully furnished school buildings,” he reiterated.

The Executive Director of Africa Education Watch described the decision of the ruling government and the promise from the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to keep on paying teacher trainee allowances after their upgrade as disappointing.

“It is not an educational policy but one of politics and sadly the NDC which cancelled the teacher trainee allowances has promised to bring it back. This is a populist policy and will not take us anywhere. We need to start thinking about Ghana first.”

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in 2018 upgraded all Colleges of Education to University Colleges which will offer a four-year Bachelor of Education degree with effect from the 2018-19 academic year, as part of efforts to improve the quality of teacher training in the country

This was the second upgrade for education colleges in the last decade: in 2012, the Colleges of Education Act (Act 847) was passed to give legal backing to the conversion of Teacher Training Colleges to Colleges of Education which were then placed under the control of the National Council for Tertiary Education, the government agency responsible for the regulation of tertiary education institutions.

Speaking at the 170th anniversary celebrations of the Presbyterian College of Education in Akropong in the Eastern Region on 17 June, Akufo-Addo said: “These colleges will, initially, be affiliated with the University of Cape Coast and, subsequently, to other public universities. This means that, eventually, a first degree will be the minimum requirement for teaching at any level of our education system.”

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