Delay in payment of compensation affecting trainee teachers – TTAG
The government is said to have defaulted on the payment of the trainee teachers’ allowance for about 7 months, as the country was in the throes of economic difficulties.
According to the Trainee Teachers Association of Ghana (TTAG), the development has aggravated the economic hardship of trainees across the country.
TTAG National President Jonathan Dzunu clarified that the stipend is 7 months behind schedule for the 2021/2022 academic year, running from January to July 2022.
He was speaking at the 26th TTAG General Assembly held at St. Francis College of Education in Hohoe in the Volta Region,
Mr Dzunu said trainee teachers continue to struggle for their upkeep and find it difficult to buy school materials from schools.
He said the stipend served as a poverty alleviation intervention, cushioning trainee teachers studying and undergoing teaching placements in basic schools.
He claimed that food shortage is looming in colleges of education because vendors are reluctant to provide food to colleges due to their inability to pay for previous supplies.
“Looking at the current economic difficulties in the country, you can imagine the difficulty that students are going through, life on campus without a stipend has become very unbearable for us.
Madam President, we are of the opinion that the colossal delay in the payment of allowances will set back the clock and that the small successes recorded thanks to the introduction of the teacher training allowance are dwindling, given the the historical background that led to the implementation of the stipend scheme and the positive effect it has had on teacher training in particular and basic education in general over the years,” said he declared.
Mr. Dzunu implored the government not to use the trainee teacher as a sacrificial lamb due to the current economic and financial crisis and called for “highest priority to be given to the payment of trainee teacher allowance “.
Mr Dzunu also suggested that the teaching licensure exams introduced three years ago should be part of the courses offered in colleges, to address the high failure rate.
“The National Teaching Standards and National Curriculum Framework are part of the course structure of colleges of education because most student teachers are unfamiliar with the teaching standards and framework.
We believe that if student teachers followed the licensure exam courses thoroughly and had plenty of time to receive some form of hands-on training before taking the licensure exam licensure, the high failure rate would decrease significantly,” he explained.
Available data indicates that 69% of the 128,493 candidates who sat for the licensing exam in the past 3 years were successful.
84 candidates have taken the exam five times and 372 candidates have taken the exam four times but have not yet passed.
This, according to Mr. Dzinu, is worrying and therefore hints at TTAG’s intention to meet with stakeholders to digest the above suggestion and develop a plan for its successful implementation.
Mr. Gunu pointed to infrastructure issues and how it hampers academic activities, “forcing colleges of education to run a dual-track system.”
He lamented that the construction of lecture halls, dormitories, classrooms, teachers’ bungalows and other projects initiated in 2016 were stalled for unexplained reasons.
He advised the government to partner with philanthropic organizations and philanthropists to ensure that there is adequate infrastructure to contain all 4-year-old groups on campus.
He also called on teachers’ unions to partner with colleges of education management to build hostels to increase infrastructure on campuses to help accommodate the growing student population.
He called on the Ghana Education Service to send teachers to communities where they can communicate in the local dialect to ensure effective training of students.
“The system in which newly trained teachers seek sponsorship from the district education offices of their choice must be reinstated to avoid the language barrier problem, as the current system does not ensure that newly trained teachers choose their preferred regions and districts.”
He pleaded with teachers’ unions and colleges of education management to introduce a system to identify and sponsor the training of bright but needy teacher trainees.