Regional News of 2014-01-09

Withdrawal of trainee allowance a drawback - GNAT

The acting National President of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), Mr Samuel Doe Alobuia, has stated that the scrapping of the allowance for teacher trainees is “a drawback to the progress so far made in the area of attracting and retaining qualified teachers in the classroom.”

He has, therefore, urged the government to review the policy on the withdrawal because if teachers were forced to take loans to fund their education, the GES could not have the power to engage such teachers and send them to remote areas.

While admitting that available statistics had indicated an increase in intake after the scrapping of the teacher trainee allowance last year, the acting GNAT President said that policy was bound to result in more classrooms going without trained teachers.

“The fact is that asking trainee teachers to go for loans to finance their education in the colleges of education will mean that they cannot be bonded by the Ghana Education Service (GES) after their graduation. The likely scenario is that these teachers will look for their own schools to teach so GES cannot be assured of using them to fill vacant positions in public schools,” he said.

Delivering a statement at the opening of the 4th Quadrennial and 51st Delegates Conference of GNAT on the theme: “Education in Crisis - The Development Agenda Beyond 2015”, in Accra yesterday, Mr Alobuia cautioned that “once bonding of teachers is made ineffective, one can be assured of more classrooms without qualified teachers, especially in the rural areas. As a nation, we will end up churning out more teachers but having less in classrooms.”

In a solidarity message on behalf of Organised Labour, the Secretary-General of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Mr Kofi Asamoah, said although the take-home pay of teachers was still inadequate considering the rising cost of living, teachers continued to be blamed for the falling standards of education.

Saying generally, workers in Ghana were currently in a difficult period, he declared; “Our take home pay is still inadequate, when compared with the high rising cost of living.”

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