Former President John Mahama, who is staging a comeback to the Jubilee House, has promised to continue the payment of allowances to trainee teachers and nurses if he wins the December 2020 presidential polls.
The allowances were cancelled in 2014 under Mahama’s administration, a controversial move that pitched his government against trainee teachers and nurses.
However, speaking during his interactive digital conversations dubbed ‘Let’s talk with JM’, the former President said, contrary to suggestions, he will not scrap the allowances if he gets the nod to lead the country again.
“You know that it was a very critical issue in the run-up to the 2016 elections. What I had said was we were going to migrate the health trainees and educational trainees to the student loan scheme. Now what I have said going up to the 2020 elections is that we are going to let the status quo remain. It means that we are going to continue paying trainee allowances, but we will improve the student loan and adapt it so that it serves the same purpose as the allowances,” he promised.
He said the allowance under the Student Loan Trust Fund will also be increased.
“Instead of giving it to you as a lump sum, we will give it to you at regular intervals so that you continue to use it for the things you use it for. So, once we have done it and it’s attractive and it’s good enough for you, then we will now do the migration onto the student loan scheme. So for now, if I become the President on January 7, 2021, we will maintain the status quo. It means that, we will continue to pay the allowances and when we have improved and made it attractive for all students to go for it, then we will now do the migration onto the student loan scheme. So that’s my position on it as of now,” he promised.
One of the campaign promises made by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) during the 2016 elections was to restore the teacher and nursing trainee allowances if elected to office.
In fulfilment of this promise, the Government announced in August 2017 that it would, from October same year, restore allowances to both teacher and nursing trainees in public institutions. Since then the government has kept faith with the promise.
A total of GH¢999,203,091 has been paid since the restoration of allowances for the teacher and nursing trainees from 2017 to date.
According to the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, the total sum is made up of an amount of GH¢103,124,102, for the 2017/2018 academic year, GH¢177,511,600, for the 2018/2019 academic year and to date GH¢251,726,589, for the 2019/2020 academic year.
The NPP government also allocated GH¢57,800,000,000.00 for an estimated average of 48,000, teacher trainees in all public colleges of education and 49,000 nursing trainees in public nursing institutions for 2019/2020 academic years.