Trainees in the various agricultural colleges of education across the country are protesting the scrapping of trainee allowances by the government.
The Agricultural College Students Union (ACSU) at a press conference in Kumasi issued a one week ultimatum to government to address their grievances.
“The future of the Agricultural Colleges looks bleak, as the allowances which help majority of us in covering our tuition has been cancelled. As I speak, many students from all the colleges still owe fees and are wondering where to get funding,” said Lawrence Amegboe, National Public relations officer of ACSU.
The agricultural colleges at Kwadaso, Ejura and Ohawu and Damango as well as the Veterinary College were established to train extension officers and other skilled personnel for the agricultural sector.
The Colleges are currently running three-year certificate and diploma programs in general agric, with courses ranging from 10 to 11 per semester. Students pay fees ranging from 700 to 800 Ghana Cedis per semester, in addition to the purchase of course handouts.
Trainees in all five agricultural colleges say they enrolled on the assurance of receiving government’s allowances to support them in covering some of the cost of staying in school.
They are therefore lamenting scrapped the allowances, which took effect from September 2015.
“We want the government to understand that majority of the students who make it to the colleges are from very poor and less privilege homes, and with that we sorely depend heavily on the allowances to go through the training successfully,” said Lawrence.
The trainees say without the allowances, they would be challenged in raising start-up capital to start their farm enterprises and agribusinesses after school.
Courses taught include livestock and crop production, non-traditional farming including snail and mushroom production and beekeeping.
“The government has a goal of building a country of entrepreneurs, who would not depend on employment in the public sector,” they observed. “Such a brilliant plan can work very well for the agric sector, especially after the trainees complete school. But then, we shall need start-up capitals. We are appealing to the government to restore the cancelled agric trainee allowances to safeguard the future of our agric sector”.
By Kofi Adu Domfeh|TV3|3news.com