The ranking member on the Education Committee and NDC Member of Parliament (MP) for Akatsi North, Peter Nortsu-Kotoe, claims the cancellation of trainee allowance was based on the Prof. Anamuah-Mensah Committee report and the Government White Paper on the education reform review committee.
No evidence could be found in the documents mentioned by Mr Peter Nortsu-Kotoe to support the claim.
The cancellation of the Nurse and Teacher Trainee Allowances in 2014 became a topical campaign issue in the run-up to the 2016 elections.
The then National Democratic Congress (NDC) government had argued, after scrapping the allowances, that it was to allow for an increased intake of students in those training institutions.
The quota system at the time put a limit on the number of students the training institutions could admit every academic year as a result of the allowances paid to students.
In the heat of the 2016 electioneering campaign, the NDC argued that the removal and subsequent replacement of the allowances with student loans had increased intake from over 6000 students the previous year to 14000 students.
However, the then opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) condemned the move and accused the government of being insensitive to the plight of the trainees.
The Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association (GRNMA) also registered its displeasure at the cancellation of the allowances
It became one of the major campaign messages of the NPP which promised to restore the allowances if it won political power.
Upon assumption of office in 2017, the government restored the allowances to the nurse and teacher trainees.
However, after more than three years of the restoration of the allowances, the debate of who initiated the cancellation rages on.
The flagbearer and some members of the opposition NDC accuse the NPP of hypocrisy since the latter had made moves during the erstwhile administration of President John Agyekum Kufuor administration to also cancel the allowances.
Speaking to the media after delivering a parliamentary statement on education and teacher reforms on August 11, 2020, the Minister of Education, Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh, touted the current government’s decision to restore the allowances, arguing that it had done even better than the NDC in terms of increase in intake in spite of the restoration of the allowances.
“The fact is teacher trainee allowance had been cancelled. But even more so is what you hear, that because of the cancellation the numbers have increased. Yes, it is true; it moved from nearly 7000 to 14000 but when we restored the teacher trainee allowance, in fact we are hovering 15700, many more than when they cancelled, or double when they cancelled [the allowances],” he asserted.
In response, the ranking member on the Education Committee and NDC Member of Parliament (MP) for Akatsi North, Peter Nortsu-Kotoe, said the cancellation of the allowances followed the recommendation of the Prof. Anamuah-Mensah Committee report and the government white paper endorsing the recommendation.
“With the cancellation of teacher trainee allowances this was in a white paper signed by the former president of this country, HE John Agyekum Kufuor. I want him to refer to that white paper. A committee was formed and Prof. Anamuah-Mensah was the chairman of that committee. He recommended the cancellation of allowances at the teacher training colleges and that was what was implemented. And the implementation of that rather provided access for more students to enter training colleges,” he argued.
Verification of claim
The 29-member Prof. Jophus Anamuah-Mensah Committee was inaugurated on 17th January 2002 to review the entire educational system in the country with the view to make it more responsive to current challenges.
The committee submitted its report to the government on the basis of the government white paper issued in 2004.
We also spoke to Prof Anamuah-Mensah who said the Committee did not recommend a cancellation of allowances.
“No, not at all,” Prof Anamuah-Mensah said.
Additionally, after careful scrutiny of the committee’s report, Dubawa could not find any specific recommendation for the cancellation of the allowances.
However, there was a recommendation on page 261 of the report (https://new-ndpc static1.s3.amazonaws.com/pubication/Meetn+the+Challenges+of+Educ+in+21st+Century.pdf) which made a proposal for cost-sharing in teacher education.
It recommended that the government should continue “to pay the allowances for teacher trainees for the time being but should be reviewed from time to time.”
It said, “the government should encourage the use of other innovative and cost-effective strategies such as distance learning and modular courses in the training of pre-service teachers.”
The cost-sharing recommendation was explained in Table 7.8 below.
Thus, though the committee’s report shifted most of the recurrent expenditure items to parents/students, it did not recommend a cancellation of the allowances.
What did the government white paper say?
On page 41 section 23.1, under Financing of Education, the government white paper accepted the recommendation of cost-sharing captured in the committee’s report.
“In addressing the crucial issue of financing of education the committee identified various innovative ways by which Government could generate additional resources to cope with the perpetual insufficiency of the educational budget. Government endorses the recommendations to explore the variety of sources proposed and is open to additional suggestions from the public on the matter. In addition, the GETFund has proved to be of great benefit. Government will continue its policy of revenue diversification as a strategy for financing education. In this regard, the government accepts the cost-sharing arrangements proposed in the report,” it stated.
Again, after a careful study of the government white paper on the report of the education reform review committee, Dubawa could not find any explicit plan by the then government to cancel the allowances of trainees.
Based on the specific claim of the Ranking Member on parliament’s education committee, Peter Nortsu-Kotoe, that the cancellation of the allowances was implemented based on the recommendation of the Prof. Anamoah Mensah committee and the government white paper on the committee report, we rate the claim as false.
The reporter produced this fact-check under the auspices of the Dubawa 2020 Fellowship in partnership with The Finder Newspaper to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and to enhance media literacy in the country.