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FLIKA’S PEN: Teacher-Trainee Allowance, The Facts In Figures
 
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26-Oct-2016  
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“Robbing Peter to pay Paul” is a common adage in Ghana. This would be the pictorial view in any unlikely reinstatement of the teacher-trainee allowance.  You ought to appreciate the fact that ordinary men on the street pay more to sustain the teacher-training in the Public Colleges of Education. 

Following his earlier story on the same subject matter headed “Flika Writes: Teacher-Trainee Allowa nce, The Hidden Truth”, the writer, in this issue explains why the reinstatement of the teacher-trainee-allowance  would be an evil deed.  

He holds the view that the NPP had been ill-informed of the realities in the “partial withdrawal” of the teacher-trainee allowance. Singling out the trainee-allowance in the entire package of the teacher-trainee education is a biased sampling technique since teacher-trainee- allowance was not the only good item on the list of goodies for the teacher-college education. It was an entire package. Unless one is told this truth, he would be tempted to believe that the trainee-allowance is everything in the College of Education. In fact, that the Public Colleges of Education offer a mouth-watering opportunity for immediate employment after Tertiary Education is not anything to go by.Dust has been thrown in the cursory observers eyes.  

Following the withdrawal of the teacher-trainee quota policy by government (which automatically withdrew the trainee-allowance), there has been a number of agitations. Main agitators are the teacher-trainee union, TTAG and GNAT and the New Patriotic Party (NPP)

Strategically, the NPP through its running mate, Dr. MahamaduBawumia has been promising the trainees that future NPP government would reinstate the teacher-trainee-allowance  at all cost. Really? So what is the cost?

The latter, however, had failed to assign any reason why they would like to reinstate it, even though the ruling Government had give n convincing reasons why the policy had been withdrawn. Well, the then EC’s Dr. Afari Djan once said, evidence is the name of the game. The JDM ‘toaso’ government provided evidence in defence of the withdrawal.

I don’t hold a certificate in political science so I am unable to do much of the politicking. My social science education is what I can, however, share.

Should you care to know, this writer takes you through what our poor farming parents are likely to cough out on daily bases when they face their back to the scorching sun just to make these expensive ends meet. Now this is what is involved:

All teacher trainees who enjoy trainee-allowance had  their allowance pegged to the Late Prof. Mills’ single spine salary structure. The single spine salary structure places every teacher-trainee at level 8 step 1 in the first year and level 8 step 3 for those in the third year.

Level 8:1 today is valued at GHS 600.00. Giving that we have sixteen thousand, four hundred and thirty-two (16,432) teacher trainees in the 43 Public Colleges of Education who have completed their 3-year Diploma in Basic Education (DBE) means that we have a weighted average of sixteen thousand, four hundred and thirty-two teacher trainees (16,432) at each level of the teacher training level. These sums up to forty-nine thousand, two hundred and ninety six (49,296) teacher trainees in the public colleges of education for each academic year.

Since each teacher-trainee is entitled to GHS 600.00 trainee-allowance every month, we would spend twenty one thousand six hundred Ghana Cedis (GHS 21,600.00) on each student to complete his training program. And for the entire student populace, the state would have to cough out twenty nine million, five hundred and seventy seven thousand six hundred Ghana Cedis (GHS 29,577,600) each month and three hundred and fifty four million nine hundred and thirty one thousand, two hundred Ghana Cedis (GHS 354,931,200)  every year. This is what the figures are saying. And this is the value equivalent of the tax paid by the poor man in your holy village. 

The entire 3-year teacher education would cost an average of eight thousand, nine hundred Ghana Cedis (GHS 8,900.00)ordinary man’s wallet. Now, this is how it works out…

Admissions fee together with exams registration would cost approximately GHS 2,200.00. The second semester would also cost around 1,500.00. That is GHS 3,900.00 for the first year. The second year would also cost about GHS 3,000.00 for the entire two semesters. In the final year, a cost of GHS 2,000.00 would be borne by each mentee in other to complete the public College of Education.    

So whilst the government would have to commit 21,000.00 in favour of each teacher trainee, the actual expenditure by the average teacher-trainee is GHS 8,900.00. This gives an excess teacher-trainee- allowance of GHS 12,100.00.

Is that how we want to go? Do we as a nation have that muchmoney? Considering the endless infrastructural challenges facing Ghana’s educational sector? Would we not rather benefit more if we were to redirect this fund into improving the quality of teacher education so that more students would benefit than just a handful ‘demonstrating’ students?

Besides, it would interest you to note that whenever any collegestudent is on a semester break, they continued to enjoy the teacher-trainee allowance. The Teacher Trainee Association of Ghana (TTAG), out of the monthly teacher-trainee allowance deducts membership dues at source from each teacher-trainee. That had been the union’s major source of revenue for its operation. This is the reason this writer suspects the teacher trainees and their union are peeved. The NPP is likely to also bag-inn sympathy votes from the wailing students.

In any case, given the facts presented in this write-up, this writer holds the opinion that it would be economical to make Public Colleges of Education free of fees, than to reinstate the teacher-trainee allowance. 

If you are the president of the republic, would you commit the nation to paying this much as students’ allowan ce?

 

The writer David K. Flika is a social analyst and a  postgraduate student at the UCC.

Email: [email protected]
 
 
 
Source: The writer David K. Flika
 
 

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