President John Mahama says admissions into Teacher Trainee and Nursing Trainee colleges have shot up by 63% after government “substituted” the trainee allowances with student loans for teacher trainees across the country.
According to the president the decision was taken in the interest of many a student who wished to pursue higher education to become a trained teacher or a trained nurse in the countries tertiary institutions.
The president said “because of budgetary constraints, in terms of paying teacher trainees, all the colleges of education were restricted to a certain number they could take. So as a result of that, most of the colleges could not fill their campuses because of the quota.
“So there are many students who wrote the exams and passed but were not taken because there was no space to take them. So since we substituted, I don’t say we cancelled, we substituted the allowances with student loans, and since we did that admissions into colleges of education have gone up by 63%.”
The president further indicated that “many of the teacher trainees who are in colleges of education today would not have been there if we did not substitute the training allowance with the student loan. So it’s not like government did it in a senseless manner, we did it so that we can give more students the opportunity.”
In an interview on Savanna radio in the Northern regional capital of Tamale to wrap up his tour of the region, the president further explained why government decided to “substitute” the trainee allowances with student loans.
The decision has seen many teacher trainees chastising government and called the move ‘insensitive’. The flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party, Nana Akufo Addo has also criticized government for the decision adding that an NPP administration would bring back the trainee allowances.
President Mahama said “we converted all these teacher trainee colleges into colleges of education and that made them tertiary institutions and degree awarding. They produce trained teachers for the educational system, like their colleagues in Winneba, like their colleagues in University of Cape Coast, like their colleagues in Legon.
“So you had a situation where you were going to become a trained teacher so you enroll in a university. The president questioned why one should get an allowance when he or she enrolls in a college of education but not get an allowance when he or she enrolls in another tertiary institution when they are both coming out as trained teacher.
“Where’s the equity in that?” he queried.
So students in University of Education, Winneba, take student loans and then when they are employed, they are enjoined to paid back the loans they took but then if you go to St. Mary’s College of Education then you don’t take loans, government pays you to become a teacher, so that was the first problem.
“The problem of equity… So we said all trainee teachers, wherever you are, should take student loans so that there’s equity in whichever institution you go.” he added.
By Martin Asiedu-Dartey|3news.com|Ghana