Former Education Minister, Professor Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang, has said the National Democratic Congress (NDC) under John Dramani Mahama did not cancel the trainee allowances for teachers as has been widely held.
The running mate of John Mahama for the December polls admitted when she spoke on the matter on Friday, August 14, 2020, that it should have died years ago.
She said the allowances were replaced with students’ loan for all trainees to enable the country to produce more teachers to meet the high demand.
“I will come to a sensitive subject which I think should be dead by now. We never cancelled the teacher trainees’ allowance. Cancelling means that you have something and I came to take it away from you.
“This is the last time I am going to talk about this because we never did that. You know very well that those who were on the loan scheme continued to enjoy it until they graduated. So we never took anything away from them,” she said.
She said the NDC gave the new trainee teachers a one-year notice that the NDC government was going to give them loans and added means.
“Today how much do you get and how much are they taking from you? Those in the training schools are crying over fees. We will be open to you. We will be honest with you. We want you to know what you are coming into. We will not lure you through the door and then begin to tell you stories,” she said.
She made the clarification when she addressed tertiary students in Bolgatanaga in the Upper East Region on a two-day working visit.
The governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) has been stoking the heated debate about the trainee allowance since Prof Opoku-Agyemang was unveiled as John Mahama’s running mate for the December polls.
When the allowance was replaced with the loan scheme in the runup to the 2016 elections, it caused disaffection among trainee teachers for the government.
Then-candidate Nana Akufo-Addo rode on the disaffection and promised to restore the allowance if elected.
Nana Akufo-Addo subsequently won the 2016 polls beating John Mahama in a landslide.
The Akufo-Addo 2020 campaign is hoping once again that stoking the debate ahead of the December polls will have the same effect.