Reconsider withdrawal of teacher trainee allowances

One profession which has been used as the launching pad for more exciting, prestigious and better paid professions is teaching.


Most people who have made their mark in their current professional careers once started life as teachers. In the good old days, particularly the period just after independence right up to the later part of the 1970s, teaching was one of the well-respected professions.

Teachers were accorded a lot of respect because of their role as educators and considered the most enlightened, as well as the repository of knowledge in the various communities they lived.

They were the eye of society, and opinion leaders and epitomised the will and views of society. No wonder in those days most parents and guardians persuaded and encouraged their children and wards to pursue teaching as a career.

Even those who did not have any training in teaching managed to be absorbed into the  profession as pupil teachers. Some of these untrained teachers, after some years of practice, managed to enrol in teacher training colleges to acquire professional skills in teaching.

I don’t know exactly when the allowance for teacher trainees was introduced but many people, especially those with poor backgrounds, preferred to go to the training colleges because they were fee-free training institutions which readily provided employment after trainees had completed their training.

I, therefore, find it absurd when people who were once in the teaching profession, whether trained or untrained, and now find themselves as policy makers engage in schemes that could demotivate and frustrate those  aspiring to enter the teaching profession.

My information is that payment of allowances which the teacher trainees had enjoyed since post-independence Ghana was stopped in the 1990s, but was restored in the early part of 2000.

Teacher trainees currently enjoy a flat allowance of between GH¢384 and GH¢450 per month across the board. It is one of the juicy incentives which enticed a lot of young people to opt for  teacher training.

Now that the government is considering its withdrawal and encouraging the trainees to rather access the Students Loan Trust just like other tertiary students, I personally don’t think it would help the cause of the government to achieve its target of providing  95 per cent of trained teachers at all levels of education by the year 2015.

I am not sure the government has seriously considered the rationale behind the introduction of the teacher trainee allowance by the government of the First Republic, which, in a way, was the apron string that tied the teachers to government service for three years before they could opt out of the Ghana Education Service (GES).

There are different issues of greater importance which have not been ironed out, including the obligations of teacher trainees to the State, especially if the plan to withdraw allowances is implemented.

The consequences could be dire and I wish to implore the government to reconsider its decision and iron out the knotty areas, taking into consideration the implications of the withdrawal on teacher population in this country.

Already, we are being told that a whopping number of 33,185 teachers in the GES have abandoned the service to seek greener pastures. What the government and other stakeholders need to do is they should provide trainees with requisite teaching and learning materials such as syllabi and textbooks to enhance their training in the colleges.

The government must equally ensure that a mechanism is put in place to supervise the judicious use of funds allocated to the various colleges of education for their development projects.

By Vance Azu / The Mirror / Ghana

Connect With Us : 0242202447 | 0551484843 | 0266361755 | 059 199 7513 |

Like what you see?

Hit the buttons below to follow us, you won't regret it...