The National Communications Officer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Sammy Gyamfi, has described as false assertions by the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) that Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang cancelled the teacher trainee allowance in the Mahama-led government.
He said it cannot be a ministerial decision and that it was a decision taken by cabinet.
Sammy Gyamfi explained that the teacher trainee allowances were only replaced by the student loan scheme just to ensure “equity and equality among tertiary students”.
The NDC national executive officer gave this clarification on Wednesday, July 8, when he addressed journalists at the party’s headquarters in Accra.
He justified the selection of the former Minister of Education as John Dramani Mahama’s running mate, saying the move provides “a new sense of inspiration to the women of this country who have made several sacrifices for the development and progress of this country”.
“Indeed, this decision is a victory for inclusive democracy and has further enhanced our democratic gains and credentials as a country,” he said.
But her nomination has seen members of the opposition digging into her tenure as Minister of Education from 2013 to 2017.
Indeed, the Communications Director of the NPP, Yaw Buaben Asamoa, said she was going to bring back bad memories to teachers as she was responsible for the scrapping of their trainee allowances.
But Sammy Gyamfi set the records straight.
“The decision to replace teacher trainee allowance with student loan was a cabinet decision and not a ministerial decision,” he clarified.
“As you may be aware, the erstwhile Mahama government, to ensure equity and equality among tertiary students, converted allowances for teacher trainees into student loans in order to abolish the quota system of admissions into Colleges of Education and increase enrollment and teaching opportunities for the youth of this country.”
He noted that even if an official is to be blamed, it should be the party’s leader.
“This was a decision President Mahama himself took responsibility for.”
Nonetheless, he said the former president has “promised to maintain the payment of allowances to teacher trainees and abolish the needless licensure exams and mandatory national service policy for teacher trainee graduates as well as restore the automatic employment of teacher trainee graduates when he is elected on 7th December 2020”.
Another issue that Prof Opoku-Agyemang has been accused of is the signing of a petition in 2016 to get some three members of the NDC discharged despite being convicted by the Supreme Court.
“Her decision to sign the petition to request for a reduced prison term for the convicts doesn’t in any way mean that she endorsed their unfortunate comments as the NPP would have us believe,” Sammy Gyamfi explained.
“It must be noted that the woman we are talking about is a responsible and caring mother of three and a loving grandmother. Good mothers are known to forgive their children when they go wrong, and after they are disciplined.”