Advocacy group, Teachers and Trainees Advocacy (TTA), has urged teacher trainees to continue to exercise restraints in venting their spleen on government when desperate politicians present them with distorted facts.
Trainees, the Advocacy said, should not allow greedy politicians to remind them of the painful and regrettable experiences they endured between the 2013 and 2016 academic years when their allowances were scrapped.
TTA made the call in response to comments by former President John Dramani Mahama to the effect that teacher trainee allowance was not scrapped but replaced with the Students’ Loan.
The group expressed its chagrin at the former President and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) National Communications Officer, Sammy Gyamfi for what it claimed were vicious attempts to scratch the surface of the wounds of teacher trainees.
They questioned how the allowance could not be said to be scrapped but replaced with the Students Loan Trust Fund.
“We at Teachers and Trainees Advocacy (TTA) wish to state that the trainee teachers’ allowance was a free mechanized payroll disbursement, which had no repayment clauses and interest rate accruals to the consolidated fund.”
“The trainee teachers’ allowances cannot be replaced or substituted with a loan scheme that comes with a repayable clauses and massive stringent conditions before a teacher trainee could access the loan with SLTF,” a release from the Advocacy said.
TTA argued that some of the herculean hurdles that came with the loan scheme included difficulty of getting a SSNIT contributor in good standing to guarantee the loan, getting a high ranking public servant to endorse and witness the loan application forms before it could be accepted.
“Sadly, according to our research, only 30% of trainee teachers were able to go through the ordeals and difficult qualifying conditions to access the students loan, from the year 2013 to 2016 when the allowance was cancelled.”
“Also, the distorted fact that the colleges of education were upgraded to offer first degree and that merited the scrapping of the allowance comes with a big surprise to us,” TTA said.
The group described the assertion as shocking and unfounded and stressed that the very first batch of first degree students in the Colleges of Education were admitted in the year 2018 and expected to graduate in the year 2022.
“So why was the truth eluded in the statement of the former President,” they quizzed?
The Advocacy, however, agreed that the good and beneficial trainee teachers allowance was cancelled and replaced with the cumbersome and difficult-to-access student loan.
It appealed to politicians to rise beyond petty politics and be patriotic to raise the status quo of the teaching profession.
The education sector, it said, is too sensitive to be used as a political football match