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Opinions of Sunday, 22 January 2017

Columnist: Abdul-Fatawu, Fuseini

The re-introduction of the quota system

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Some few days ago, some nursing training institutions in the country opened the sale of admission forms for the 2017/2018 batch of students.

The institutions seem not to have consulted the Ministry of Health before attempting to sell the forms to the interested students. A directive was then issued by the Ministry of Health for a halt of the sale of the admission forms.

Then just yesterday, the 19/01/17, another directive was issued for nursing training colleges to pick or admit only 60% of student applicants in accordance with the school's capacity. There and then, our siblings in the NDC started to chastise the NPP government for this new policy.

During the course of the 2016 elections, the NDC justified their cancellation of the allowances for teaching and nursing trainees with the reason that the cancellation of the allowances helped increased the number of intakes in the various nursing and teacher trainee institutions.

They added that any attempt to bring back the allowances to the teaching and nursing trainees will mean the government will have to cut down on the number of intakes in those institutions. In a way, the NDC prophesy have come true.

However, a careful analysis of the way the erstwhile president Mahama led NDC government handled issues related to the nursing or teacher training institutions tell you that the NDC is being economical with the truth or are still perpetuating their usual propaganda.

In the first instance, the former president Mahama led NDC government not only cancelled the allowances for the teaching and nursing trainees but also astronomically increased the fees they paid. Freshers in the nursing training institutions who used to pay less than GH¢2000. 00 in 2013 as admission  fees began to pay close to or in some cases more than GH¢4000.00 by 2015. In the teacher training colleges, students who used to pay just a little above GH¢1000.00 when former president Mahama was sworn-in in 2013 began to pay almost GH¢2000.00 by 2015. As a result of this, the students were faced with a lot of difficulties. Those institutions became the privilege for the rich. The increase in intakes didn't help the poor brilliant but intelligent students who had dreams of becoming nurses or teachers despite their very good and in some cases excellent grades in the WASSCE. A very sad legacy of the former former president Mahama led NDC government. An unfortunate development for a political party that claims to be a social democratic one.

Besides, those students who are lucky to gain admissions into the various teaching and nursing training colleges also could not get jobs after completion. Majority struggled to get posted and those who are lucky to be posted did not also get their salaries. These have  been the state of affairs of the nursing and teacher trainees during the former president Mahama led NDC administration. With these  state of affairs, one wonders why the Mahama administration increased intakes in those institutions when there were no employment opportunities available for them and no money to pay the very few who are privileged to be employed. A very sad case of poor planning and incompetent leadership. An unfortunate case of va luing quantity over quality.

With the quota system re-introduced by the president Akufo-Addo led NPP government, we are already assured of the reintroduction of the nursing and teacher trainees allowances. This reintroduced allowance will reduce the huge financial burden on these trainees and their parents. Also, with the quota system, we will be assured that those that will be admitted will not complete and come out of school struggling to be posted. The very scary system of the students not been paid their salaries after eventually been employed as happened under the John Mahama presidency will become a thing of the past.

The quota system will further push for excellence and the best students will be picked for the various institutions. Students at the Senior High level who have dreams of either becoming nurses or teachers will work hard to get good grades and qualify for the teaching and nursing training colleges. We can then be assured of quality products from those institutions. The opposition NDC can observe and learn from the NPP government.

It is essential to note that there's no need getting a certificate that can't give you a job after spending huge sums of money on it. This especially when you are coming from a poor family that is looking up to you to complete your tertiary education and work to "save" them. There should be value in the certificates we get. There should be hope in the certificate we learn hard to be awarded. The certificate must have quality so that it can help us to get jobs. As such, the certificate will help us to serve our nation selflessly and also help us to raise our economic wellbeing and that of our families. That's the kind of quality system the NPP is coming with. That's why the quota system is very relevant and essential.

I shall, In sha Allah, be back...

Fuseini Abdul-Fatawu