I’d rather lose the election than restore teacher trainee allowance – Mahama

President John Mahama has said he will not restore teacher trainee allowance even if it will cost him the 2016 presidential election.

He says he would rather risk a second term bid on grounds of principle than on petty politicking which he blames his opponents for doing.

“For partisan politics purposes you have your political opponent come and say when we come back we will restore trainee allowances to colleges of education. For me it is better to lose the election on principle than win it on falsehood,” he said.

President Mahama made these remarks on Wednesday when he addressed students and faculty heads of the University of Cape Coast in the Central Region as part of his campaign tour ahead of the general election.

Teacher Trainee Association of Ghana (TTAG), the mother association of trainee teachers, vented its spleen on government when its members hit the street on March 24 demonstrating over the decision.

They have threatened to vote for the flag bearer of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who has promised to restore the allowance when voted for.

Agitations have been building up but reacting for the first time on the matter, President Mahama says he would not shift grounds even if the decision cost him the December polls.

“I believe this is equitable, it is a matter of social justice, and it opens more opportunities to young Ghanaians who want to change the profession,” he said.

Executive Member of TTAG, Patrick Antwi Kakari, told Joy News the President has left them with no choice than to consider his closest opponent who is the NPP leader.

He says the constant “voice of teacher trainees” has been for the allowance to be restored and they will yield to no compromises.

“The trainees are positioning themselves well to do whatever it takes to get their allowance restored,” he said.

He explained the Student Loan Trust Fund (SLTF) which replaced their allowance has been inaccessible to many students due to the stringent conditions.

The over 38-page SLTF form requires “guarantors who have been very difficult to come by,” he said, adding, the money given under the Fund is peanut and unable to help the teachers meet their academic needs.

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