I had wanted to spare the blue ink that flows through the tip of my Bic Pen, but National Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), the Teacher Trainees Association of Ghana (TTAG) and the most recent, Inter College Network (ICON) would not allow sleeping dogs to lie. Well, once I was awoken, I have decided to respond to their call by writing my piece.
Following government’s thoughtful decision to decentralise the admission of students in the Public Colleges of Education (COE) by removing the quota policy (which partially affected the teacher trainee allowance), the beneficiaries assisted by their allied associations have made countless attempts to blindfold a decision that is at the national interest.
As the debate wages on between the government of the day and TTAG, NAGRAT, et al at the other side of the table, I saw the buried truth through the lens of reality in the loamy soil.
Those who needed to be grateful are not, whereas those who need to set the record straight felt comfortable in neutral ground forgetting that silence, they say kills. This is the very reason I have found myself writing….
It is important for the campaigners to note that their lack of truth on this subject tends to undermine and discredit the many good advantages the COE have over other tertiary institutions (polytechnics, universities and even private colleges of education). Less they have forgotten that any attempt to reinstate teacher trainee allowance automatically calls for the reinstatement of the QUOTA POLICY which centralised teacher trainee admission.
Their call for reinstatement of the teacher trainee allowance also seems to suggest that the provision of teacher trainee allowance is very paramount to providing quality teacher education in at least the 43 public colleges of education, an argument which the writer would find it difficult to understand.
It also seems as if there was no financial support and assistance at all even though the tax payers’ money is being used to feed the teacher trainees free of cost.
Well, forget me not; a caption the writer came across while reading a story. He wish to draw your attention to the following vital information, which you (NAGRAT) may not be aware of and which the TTAG failed to recognise much more appreciate the effort of the tax payer whose revenue is being use to finance their wants.
That even in the absence of the Teacher Trainee Allowance, Teacher Trainees:
· have a guaranteed job upon successful completion of their 3-year course of study? And that graduates from other tertiary institution such as Polytechnics and Universities struggle to gain employment?
· enjoy free meals, 3-times each day for the entire 3-years (worth GH₵ 560.00 per teacher trainee per semester)?
· have a specialised kitchen staff paid with the tax payers money?
· enjoy free accommodation as opposed to the Polytechnics and Public Universities? And that both parents and their wards at the Colleges of education do not struggle for accommodation as the case is at the Polytechnics and Public Universities?
· Student admission to the Colleges has now more than doubled in the past three years as a result of the removal of the QUOTA POLICY (which used to restrict admissions)?
The public court would like you to humbly respond to the following:
· whether among the many challenges in the Public Colleges of Education, the payment of teacher trainee allowance is the most pressing among your categorisation of needs for the public colleges of education?
·do we not also have needy but brilliant student's in the other tertiary institutions, (polytechnics, Universities and Private Colleges of Education)? Or they do not deserve the goodies enjoyed by their colleagues in the public colleges of education?
· what is so peculiar about the COE that the national purse of the tax payer should be emptied to sponsor their every financial need?
· do you know that your continuous selective campaign and call for reinstatement of teacher trainee allowance for only the Public Teacher Trainees is very biased?
· do you mean the payment of teacher trainee allowance should be sustained and continuous in nature, till thy kingdom come? Was there no such a time when university students used to be fed free of cost? Do we have that today?
· Would you not agree that there is a period to pay allowance, and a period not to pay allowance so that more students could be admitted to teacher trainee colleges of education? And the latter is the era in which we are now, giving our resource constrain?
·are you very pleased that the tax payers money is used continually in the payment of trainees even when teacher trainees are on VACATION?
·do you take more delight in the old system where only a handful of students were admitted and paid teacher trainee allowance than today when their number is more than doubled? Note that teacher trainees are currently being fed at the expense of the tax payer’s money.
·How much allowance would you want to be paid each student per month? Is it the GHS 503.00 per student per month?
In a nut shell, whenever we want to make financial demands that have to do with the national basket, we ought to look beyond the government of the day and think about the plight of the millions of poor tax payers whose collective purse we squeeze daily just to meet demands of this nature. We should also remember that the president of our republic is a trustee who keeps the national purse in trust of the tax payer.
It is also important to always distinguish between needs and wants. For not even all needs can be met. Is NAGRAT able to meet all needs of it members, what of TTAG? We may have access to all things but not all befit us.
D. K. Flika
The writer is a graduate student of the University of Cape coast - you contact him via [email protected]
Source: David Kojo Flika - [email protected]
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