Mahama claim on allowa is an arrant contradiction
The Teachers and Trainees Advocacy (TTA) has described as untrue and an arrant contradiction, claims by the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) that trainees’ allowances were not scrapped, but replaced with the Student Loan Trust (SLTF).
According to the group, the allowance was a free mechanism payroll disbursement with no repayment clauses, but the SLTF does not operate like that.
A statement issued yesterday, challenged how the NDC could claim in one instance that the allowance was not scrapped, and on the other say it was replaced with the loan.
Signed by Antwi Karikari Patrick, National Convener, and Sao Benard, Director of Publicity, the group said it, however, agreed “with the former President John Mahama that the trainee teachers’ allowance was rather cancelled and replaced with a cumbersome and difficult-to-access student loan.
“We wish to state on records and facts that the evasive comments by the former President Mahama, to the effect that the trainee teachers’ allowance was not scrapped, but rather replaced Students’ Loan, is untrue and [an] arrant contradiction,” the statement opined.
It then quizzed: “How can the allowance be, in one instance, not cancelled, and another instance replaced with SLTF?”
The release continued: “We at TTA wish to state that the trainee teachers’ allowance was a free mechanised payroll disbursement, which had no repayment clauses and interest rate accruals to the Consolidated Fund.
“The trainee teacher allowances cannot be replaced or substituted with a loan scheme, which comes with a repayable clauses and massive stringent conditions, before a teacher trainee could access the loan with SLTF. Some of the herculean hurdles include the task of getting a guarantor who is SSNIT contributor for 36 months continuous, getting [a] high ranking public servant to endorse and witness the loan application forms before the application could be sent.”
The TTA observed that its research revealed that only 30% of trainee teachers were able to go through the ordeals and difficult qualifying conditions to access the students’ loan, from 2013 to 2016, when the allowance was cancelled.
“Also, the distorted fact that the colleges of education were upgraded to offer first degree, and that merited the scrapping of the allowance, comes with a big surprise to us. This assertion is very shocking and unfounded. In fact, the very first batch of first-degree students in the colleges of education were admitted in the year 2018, and expected to graduate in the 2022. So, why was the truth eluded in the statement of the former President?”
Concluding, the statement “admonished the trainee teachers to continue to exercise restraint in venting their spleen when desperate politicians distort facts about their painful and regrettable experience they endured during 2013 to 2016 Academic Year, when their allowances were scrapped.”
From the day Prof Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang was named running mate to Mr John Mahama, critics have dug and are still digging for what they term as her records.
Among the said achievements at the time she was the Education Minister under Mr John Mahama is the cancellation of the trainees’ allowances.
The NDC fired back at its opponents initially that the allowance was not scrapped, but replaced with the students’ loan, an excuse which appeared to have been dead on arrival, as the New Patriotic Party did not find it convincing.
In a second attempt to purge itself on the matter, the NDC held a media briefing to state that the cancellation of the allowance was a Cabinet decision, and not that of the Minister, Prof Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang, and, as such, she could not be held responsible.