Government is reported to have defaulted on the payment of teacher trainees’ allowance for about 7 months, as the country is plagued by economic hardship. 

According to the Teacher Trainees Association of Ghana (TTAG), the development has compounded economic difficulty for trainees across the country. 

The TTAG National President, Jonathan Dzunu, detailed that the allowance is in arrears for 7 months for the 2021/2022 academic year, spanning from January to July 2022. 

He was speaking at the 26th General Assembly of the TTAG held at the St. Francis College of Education in Hohoe in the Volta Region,

Mr. Dzunu said teacher trainees continue to struggle with their upkeep and find it difficult to purchase academic materials in schools.

He said that the allowance had served as a poverty alleviation intervention, cushioning teacher trainees studying and undergoing teaching practice in basic schools. 

He asserted that food shortage is imminent in the Colleges of Education because suppliers are being reluctant in supplying food items to the colleges due to their inability to pay for previous supplies. 

“Looking at the current economic hardship in the country, you can imagine the difficulty students are going through, life on campus without allowance has become very unbearable for us.

Madam Chairperson, it is our view that the colossal delay in payment of allowances is going to send the clock backwards and the little successes chalked as a result of the implementation of the teacher trainee allowance whittled away, taking into consideration the historical antecedent that led to the implementation of the allowance scheme and the positive effect it has had on teacher education in particular and basic education in general over the years”, he said. 

Mr. Dzunu implored the government not to use the teacher trainee as a sacrificial lamb due to the current economic and financial crisis and appealed that “utmost priority should be attached to the payment of teacher trainees’ allowance”. 

Licensure examination

Mr. Dzunu also suggested that the teacher licensure examinations introduced three years ago should be made a component of the courses offered in the colleges, to address the high failure rate.

“The National Teaching Standards and the National Curriculum Framework be part of the colleges of education course structure since most student teachers do not know about the teaching standards and framework.

We think that, if student teachers are taken through the courses on the licensure examination thoroughly and are given much time to receive a form of practical training before sitting for the licensure examination, the high failure rate would reduce drastically”, he explained. 

Available data indicates that 69% of the 128,493 candidates who have sat for the licensure exam within the last 3 years have passed. 

84 candidates took the exam five times and 372 candidates sat for it four times but are yet to pass.

This, according to Mr. Dzunu, is worrying hence hinting at the TTAG’s intention to meet stakeholders to digest the above suggestion and map out a plan for its successful implementation. 

Infrastructure Challenge 

Mr. Dzunu highlighted infrastructure challenges and how it’s hampering academic activities, “compelling Colleges of Education to run a double track system”.

He lamented how the construction of lecture halls, dormitories, classrooms, teacher’s bungalows and other projects initiated in 2016 had stalled for unexplained reasons. 

He advised the government to partner with philanthropic organisations and philanthropists in a bid to ensure there is adequate infrastructure to contain all the 4-year groups on campus.

He also called on the teacher unions to partner management of Colleges of Education to construct hostel facilities to augment infrastructure on the campuses to aid in accommodating the increasing student population. 

He appealed to the Ghana Education Service to post teachers to communities where they can communicate in the local dialect to ensure effective training of pupils.

“The system where newly trained teachers seek sponsorship from the District Education Offices of their choice must be brought back to avert the problem of language barrier since the current system does not warrant newly trained teachers to choose their preferred regions and districts.”

He entreated teacher unions and managements of the Colleges of Education to introduce a system to identify and sponsor the education of brilliant but needy teacher trainees.