In the 2000s when the NPP under Kufour assumed office, the leadership of the teacher trainees association approached the government and requested among others for an upgrade of the Teacher Training Colleges to Tertiary status.
Kufour’s government accepted the proposal to upgrade the colleges to tertiary status only on the condition that the allowances will be canceled and trainees asked to approach their district assemblies for a scholarship.
Teacher Trainees and the leadership deliberated on the issues and accepted that the allowances be removed to pave the way for their upgrade. Former leaders of the Teacher trainee associations such as Mr. Mike Kugbenu, Mr. Ken Abosti, and Prosper Hoetu among others are still in Ghana and can testify to these historical facts.
Unfortunately, the processes of making the transition to tertiary status came to a temporary halt until Professor Naana was appointed as Minister of Education, and as a teacher herself sought to implement the decisions taken by the leadership of the teacher trainees and the Kufour Government as to improve teacher quality.
Professor Naana demonstrates goodwill by moving ahead to ensure all the necessary processes for the upgrade of the training colleges to Tertiary status were completed and implement.
It is worth noting that Prof. Naana was worried that the idea of trainees approaching District Assemblies for the scholarship was not feasible and therefore argued in government for alternative financing in a manner consistent with the tertiary status.
After exploring a number of alternatives, the government thought replacing the trainee allowances with Students Loans was a better option and consistent with the practice in tertiary education in the country.
Note that Professor Naana did not cancel teacher trainee allowances, she was more interested in alternative policy option with enough flexibility for teacher trainees to access adequate funding for their education
Professor Naana was of the strong view that even the teacher trainee allowances were too small and that the student loans were going to allow the trainees to access adequate funding for their studies and improve teacher welfare and quality.
In addition, replacing the trainee allowances with student loans was considered important because it will remove admission restrictions and allow Ghana to train more teachers to address the teacher deficit facing the country.
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It must be noted that it was when Prof Naana was Vice-chancellor of UCC, the mother institution of all the colleges of education in Ghana, that she impressed upon the government under Prof. Mills to increase Teacher Trainee Allowances from about 300 to 450 cedis and ensured the money was paid to trainee promptly every month.
Let’s also keep in mind that during her tenure as the Minister for Education, she campaigned within government for upward adjustment of national service personnel allowances and that increase was effected from about 350 cedis to the current which is around 550 cedis a month.
It is important to keep in mind that as Professor, she recognizes the importance of policy continuity and was only implementing a policy agreed between the leadership of the teacher trainees and the government before she took office.
Her interest in this issue was only to make sure teacher trainees have the opportunity to access adequate funding for their studies and welfare since both have a positive impact on teacher quality.
For the records, as the running-mate, Professor Naana is committed to the NDC’s current position on the issue as espoused by H.E. John Mahama—that is to ensure adequate funding is made available for the welfare of teacher trainees, as well as, making sure that teachers are automatically posted upon completion of their studies.
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