Government’s ignominious decision to reintroduce nurses trainee allowances is an act of cowardice, says journalist, Abdul Malik Kweku Baaku.
The Editor-In-Chief of the New Crusading Guide newspaper says the government has proven it lacks balls to stand by its decisions.
Government announced last week to the shock of many, its plans to reintroduce allowances for nursing trainees.
The allowances were withdrawn a few years back after government complained they limited intake by nursing training institutions.
It was further argued that it was unfair for nursing and teacher trainees to receive allowances when other tertiary students didn’t enjoy same.
Since the withdrawal, the government has been praiaisng itself for taking a prudent decision which resulted in exponential growth in enrollment figures at nursing and teacher training schools across the country, thereby expanding access nursing and teacher training.
The opposition New Patriotic Party has, however, insisted that the decision is senseless and imposed needless hardships on students and parents.
The party’s vice-presidential candidate, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has been campaigning tirelessly in nursing and teacher training institutions, promising that the allowances will be restored if his party wins this year’s elections.
In an apparent response to the politicization of the issue, the health ministry issued a statement last week saying, “A Technical Committee set up by President John Mahama to review the issue of nursing students' allowances has recommended the payment of an abated allowance with a possibility to migrate them onto the students Loan Scheme.”
“The payment which will amount to about GHC150 a month is aimed at supporting 34,500 students who are currently pursuing various levels of health professional training across the country,” Health Minister, Alex Segbefia explained.
“The payment amount would serve as a bridging mechanism pending the amendment of the Students Loan Trust Act, to enable students in non-tertiary Health Training Institutions access loans to support their education,” the statement noted.
But Kweku Baako told JM/MultiTV’s news analysis programme, “it was a cowardly decision.”
Communications Director of the NPP, Nana Akomea said the decision “is one more instance of the government not showing sincerity.”
He wondered whether the reasons proferred by government for scrapping the allowances no obtained.
Private Legal practitioner and law lecturer, Yaw Oppong, also contributing to the discussion said, “The President is a trustee; the president is vested with our money, our resources, to manage it for us…the beneficiaries [so] if the president takes a decision it must be a decision he believes will be for our best interest.”
Mr. Oppong said the President cannot just change that decision merely because another person thinks that decision is wrong; to do that will be to suggest that "that other person is rather more competent to manage our affairs."
National Organiser of the governing National Democratic Congress, Kofi Adams said there was nothing wrong with the decision.
He said government was reintroducing the allowances for trainee nurses because they currently do not have access to students’ loans unlike their counterparts, teacher trainees.
He said the law is being amended to allow this to happen and until then, it is only proper that they are given some allowances.