Scrap ‘wasteful’ trainee allowance policy, use funds to recruit teachers – Eduwatch to MoE

scrap wasteful trainee allowance policy use funds to recruit teachers eduwatch to moe scaled
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Kofi Asare 1

The Africa Education Watch has asked the Education Ministry to abolish the teacher trainee allowance, a policy it has described as wasteful and needless.

According to the education think tank, the Ministry should redirect funds allocated for the allowance to recruiting more teachers to address the teacher deficit in the country.

In a New Year statement on the education sector, Eduwatch explained that most deprived districts critically need teachers.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the amount earmarked for spending on Teacher Trainee allowance in 2022 can recruit 6,000 more teachers that are urgently needed in rural schools,” Eduwatch pointed out.

“The GH¢242 million spent annually on an ever-delaying teacher trainees’ allowance which arrives at an immaterial time, continues to be a drain on the taxpayer… this looks even more compelling in 2022, as in 2021, government could not find the resources to replace even half of the 44,000 basic school teachers who left the classroom,” part of the statement dated January 10, 2022 reads.

Spokesperson for the Ministry, Kwasi Kwarteng told JoyNews recently that scrapping the allowance does not guarantee an automatic solution to all challenges faced by Colleges of Education.

But Eduwatch believes the policy contributes to the dwindling of budgetary resources for the sector and called for its replacement. “At a time Teacher Training Colleges have all been converted to Colleges of Education, qualifying trainees should access government’s guarantor-free student loan.”

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“The MoE must scrap this wasteful policy and prioritize its spending amid dwindling budgetary resources due to the national revenue and debt situation,” Eduwatch suggested.

Challenges with Standard Based Curriculum (SBC) implementation

The think tank wants the Ministry to streamline communication on timelines for rolling out the Standard Based Curriculum in JHS and SHS to enable proper planning, make textbooks available to all kindergartens and primary schools this term.

It also called for the training of teachers in the Common Core Programme (CCP) before its roll-out this term as well as providing textbooks for the CCP in the 2022 academic year to prevent a repetition of the two-year absence of textbooks that occasioned the primary school curriculum.

Proposals for secondary education reforms

Eduwatch expressed support for cogent initiatives to improve the quality of lower secondary school system, provided it addresses the existing quality and access inequities between rural and urban schools.

However, “the MoE must communicate clearly to prevent any misunderstanding among the general public, consult widely and open up to alternatives, before taking a firm decision and drawing up a realistic timeline for the roll-out of any such reforms.”

WAEC reforms and accountability

The African Education Watch commended the Ghana Education Service (GES) for dismissing staff who participated in alleged examination malpractices during the 2020 WASSCE and BECE.

It said the move is a bold statement of zero tolerance for teachers’ participation in examination malpractices.

The Ministry has been urged to commission an independent inquiry into the 2021 WASSCE leakages and prosecute staff and assigns of WAEC whose actions or inactions may have led to the 2021 leakages in WASSCE papers.

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