According to the Executive Director of the Center, Dr. Prince Armah, Government’s transformation of the Colleges into tertiary status, will be meaningless if teacher trainees are still treated as if they were in senior high schools.
Dr. Armah says teachers are trained to be leaders not only in the classrooms but in the larger society, and thus must be given the opportunity to make their own decisions and be responsible for their actions.
According to him, if the Colleges of Education are now equal to the universities and polytechnics by law, then teacher trainees should not be accommodated under the boarding system with uniforms and exeat to leave campus, just as it’s the case in the universities.
“Beyond the issues of financing, we are talking about the change in status, which is moving the colleges of Education to tertiary institutions. And as we speak now, the way the system runs, it’s like they are in a secondary school. We are of the opinion that the boarding facilities must also be scrapped going forward because the universities do not have such boarding facilities. We want the training colleges to be given that opportunity to manage their own lives.
The Training Colleges should move away from wearing uniforms and asking students to get exeat and all those things. These are situations that pertain in the senior high schools but for people, who we are training to become teachers and leaders in the classrooms, they must be given those opportunities to live their own lives and be responsible for their actions.”
Although the Center has commended Government for scrapping the payment of monthly allowance to teacher trainees since they also support the view that it has outlived its usefulness, it believes that maintaining the boarding system amongst others, will mean that the policy to upgrade Colleges of Education has not been fully beneficial.
On the scrapping of the allowance, Dr. Prince Armah said government would be able to save around Ghc12 million monthly to improve educational infrastructure across the country.
Government replaced the payment of trainee allowances with the tertiary student loan in 2012.
Opponents of the new policy, including the New Patriotic Party, NPP, have largely argued that the removal of the allowances will impede access to the Colleges of Education and rather create more problems than what it seeks to cure.
The NPP has vowed to restore the allowances for both trainee teachers and nurses when voted into power.
Information from the Ghana Education Service (GES) shows that, 9,000 out of the 15,000 teacher trainees admitted in 2014, have since applied and received loans from Student Loan Trust Fund.
Speaking to Citi News, Dr. Armah said while the scrapping of the policy will serve the best interest of the country, Government must fully implement its policy of transforming teacher training colleges to tertiary status.
“If we are to take the World Bank statistics of 27,000 enrollment, then we are talking about Ghc12 million, monthly at Ghc450 (net) per trainee. So this is what the government could be saving as a result of scrapping this policy. The point then is that, what is the government going to use these monies for? Once you do that, you might want to spend more on infrastructure and provide more ICT facilities and laboratories. A lot of the training colleges, especially those in the Northern region, don’t even match up to a secondary school”.
Previously, teacher trainees were fed three times a day by government. However with the upgrade of Colleges of Education, trainees now pay for their feeding but government eventually reimburses them.
Trainees have complained in recent times, that government does not reimburse them on time.6
Dr. Armah says if the boarding system is scrapped for trainee teachers, government could save additional Ghc32 million annually.
Source :Scrap boarding system for teacher trainees – VIAM Africa | Pemtsikata News
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