Trainee teachers across the country are very upset over government’s inability to promptly release funds towards their feeding and utility in school.
According to them, following the cancellation of allowances to trainees in 2014 and a new policy to cater for their feeding grants and utilities, government has defaulted in releasing such funds for the past three semesters.
A situation, President of the Volta sector of the Teacher Trainees Association of Ghana (TTAG), Elikem Derrick Melesusu, said is hampering the effective running of all 38 colleges of education nationwide.
Speaking at a press conference in Ho on Wednesday, Mr. Melesusu noted that government’s failure to promptly honour its obligation to the institutions has compelled some college principals to adopt unauthorized means to raise funds from students for their feeding and utility payment.
According to him, some the colleges have billed each student GHc 560 as feeding fee as well as between GHc 50 and GHc165 for utility.
“It will interest everyone to note that, from the inception of this new reform by government, three semesters feeding grants are still in arrears. Because of this, some principals continue to bill students for utility and feedi at the expense of the subventions they receive from government,” he noted.
This, he said has overburdened trainees who are struggling to make ends meet under the prevailing harsh economic conditions.
Mr. Melesusu also chided government communicators, who the group claimed are playing propaganda with their situation, ‘what beats our imagination is the continuous dust that government communicators continue to throw into the eyes of Ghanaians that, they are indeed catering for the feeding of trainees.”
The association has therefore urged all stakeholders including the mother teacher unions, GNAT and NGRAT to put pressure on government to as a matter of urgency release all funds in arrears to various colleges before the situation gets out of control.
The group is also demanding the payment of allowances to the final year trainees who are on out programmes just as in the case of National service personnel, in order to alleviate their struggle in paying rent, utility and feeding as well as buying teaching and learning materials to aid their work.
Meanwhile, some final year teacher trainees have begun wearing red armbands as part of activities to press home their demand, including an intended nationwide street protest against government over their predicaments.