Once upon a time, there lived a family at a village called Aniantentɛm. The family, Kwaku Ananse and his three children (Ntikuma, Nankonhwea and Tikelenkelen) was such a spectacle.
Throughout Aniantentɛm, Ananse was well-known mainly for what he did best— playing smart! In one of such undying tales of Mr. Ananse, his three kids had a boiled egg each of which he asked for one. The children, however, thought giving their father one of the eggs was too much a demand so they refused.
Then, Ananse hatched a plan. Guess what? He told the children to give him half of their respective eggs, a request the kids were comfortable with. When they did, Mr. Ananse had one full egg and a half more than what he had earlier asked for. Is Ananse not smart!?
This is the kind of smartness the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has played not only on [potential] trainee nurses but on Ghanaians at large. First, the John Mahama-led administration cancelled allowances for trainee nurses across the country. In the heat of the moment when the students bashed the former President, the then opposition NPP joined in the fray as they deepened their name-calling of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) as incompetent.
The NPP, again, capitalized on this issue in promising these students of nursing training colleges a restoration of their allowance. From one platform to the other, the then presidential candidate and his running mate, Nana Akufo-Addo and Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, led the restoration crusade. Though Nana Akufo-Addo has since assuming office, announced the restoration of the allowance to take effect from the 2017/2018 academic year.
It was, therefore, unfortunate to hear government’s recent directive as announced the Nursing and Midwifery Council, that both public and private nursing institutions can only admit a specific quota in the 2017/18 academic year.
For instance, Ntotrotroso College of Nursing had its last year’s admission intake of 235 cut to 82. Kwadaso Nursing Training College, from 254 to 152; Korle Bu Nursing and Midwifery Training College, from 245 to 153 and the Keta Nursing and Midwifery Training College, from 137 to 77.
In defending the indefensible, the reason given was that these nursing institutions had inadequate human capacity [in terms of teaching staff] and infrastructure, hence the decision was to cut down on admissions so as to improve the quality of education.
The Nana Addo-led government must kindly tell the marines this reason because not even a teen would buy it. Is it the nursing schools alone they have realized lack enough teaching staff strength and infrastructure? Why not a similar directive to some of our public universities where students are packed into lectures halls like crates of Coca Cola on trucks?
When the President of the Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association, Kwaku Asante-Krobea, spoke on TV3 on the development, he reiterated that the inadequacy of teaching staff and infrastructure of the nursing schools was the reason for the cut in admissions.
As I have said earlier, this explanation can never be the reason for the directive. Are the private nursing schools also suffering from inadequacy of teaching staff and infrastructure?
A source from one of the private nursing institutions that the Daily Graphic spoke with, on condition of anonymity, said “currently the accredited private nursing training institutions have invested between GH¢3 million and GH¢4 million in laboratory equipment and other training aids for their nursing students and pay lecturers between GH¢3,000 and GH¢8,000.”
Is this not common knowledge that most private educational institutions have the best of services than public ones? So, why were these private nursing institutions told to cut down on admission?
“You are taking all this cost and they are asking you to admit a limited number of students. This amounts to control. There should be no control in an educational sector where the government does not support you. This is a democratic era and they should allow private investors to run their businesses,” the Daily Graphic’s source said.
Clearly, one is tempted to believe that allowing the nursing institutions enroll to the capacity of their previous admission intake or more would haunt and torment the government.
The smart, cunning way of the Nana Addo-led government in finding ways of paying the promised trainee nurses’ allowance and to also dodge the pressure by nursing graduates for jobs leave much to be desired.
As it stands now, both the National Democratic Congress and the New Patriotic Party have lost the moral right on the nursing allowance. Had former President Mahama stayed by his cancelation of the allowance, he would have been better appreciated today.
However, blind-folded by cheap politics, he made a “U-turn” on the cancelation as the students were made to queue in their respective schools to take some amount of money. A table-top style of disbursing the Mahama allowance it was! The NDC had no time to waste. They needed votes!
Like Mr. Ananse and his children’s scenario, when John Mahama asked the trainee nurses to understand his decision of scrapping the allowance, they agitated. That was huge a demand as giving a full egg to Mr. Ananse.
However, another ‘Kwaku Ananse’ comes and plays smart on the trainee nurses as he lured them for half of their ‘eggs.’ From the look of things, potential nurses would perhaps have to travel outside the country for studies or wait in hope that God touches the heart of the current government to rescind its decision on the cut in nursing institutions’ admission intake.
By Solomon Mensah|3FM|3news.com|Ghana
The writer is a journalist with 3FM 92.7. Views expressed in this article are solely his and do not, in anyway, reflect his organisation’s editorial policy.