Assessing The Impact Of The Cancellation Of Teacher Trainees Allowances

Prof Jane  Naana Opoku -Agyemang (12)Those who report may have to struggle to settle since they will not have the requisite resources to hire decent accommodation which will give them peace of mind to start work and to offer their best at school.

Also newly posted teachers who might be lucky to borrow money to put them through the ordeal of settling down in unfamiliar environments will have to begin a difficult life in a deficit. Indeed, the most difficult thing to grapple with as a young person is to start life in debt.

Starting life in debt has both psychological and physical implications for young teachers as they have to grapple with low morale and personality disorders all of which go to affect their delivery in the classroom.

We have witnessed situations where creditors and sometimes landlords chase teachers to their schools in their bid to force them to pay monies they owed. Such people sometimes visit violence on teachers when they are unable to repay their debts on time.

Young female teachers are vulnerable to abuse since their financial situation leaves them at the mercy of people who exploit them sexually. Very young decent female teachers posted have fallen for very unscrupulous characters who pose as benefactors.

Such people will now have a field day since the financial situation of newly posted teachers will be worsened by the new directive of cutting their allowances. We will have intensified stories of people making unsubstantiated allegations against female teachers by the wives and girlfriends of such fake benefactors.

All these will translate into a bad psychological posture for such newly trained female teachers.

Furthermore, the new directive will be a recipe for teacher absenteeism as newly posted teachers will have to chase after the processing of their salaries and other entitlements.

Those who may be staying far from where they teach owing to lack of decent accommodation cannot afford to go to school throughout the week because of lack of money to pay transportation.

The motivation to even go to school will be a problem as a little hint of a headache will lead the teacher to ask permission and stay out of school. Really, in the work setting, it is always difficult to enforce discipline.

Headteachers and circuit supervisors will find it difficult to enforce discipline in a situation where teachers are not being paid for the work they are doing.

Indiscipline is not something that should be countenanced in the Ghana Education Service but when it is borne out of the inability of officialdom to meet their responsibility to the people they supervise then one can hardly complain.

We have seen over the period that, policies introduced as part of the government’s quest to cut down on expenditure have hit education very hard and teachers have been at the receiving end of these unkind policies.

We have witnessed consistently, the deterioration of conditions of service for teachers in pre tertiary education in our country. There has also been the steady approach to blame the ills of the falling standards of education on teachers solely.

The teachers unions in the Ghana Education Service have struggled against the unwavering stands of government to get certain outstanding issues resolved.

This is why teachers who belong to the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) have been spearheading the personal welfare services that take teachers out of the mercy of such unfriendly policies of the Ministry of Education.

The way forward for the redemption of teachers is the harnessing of our numbers to give us the synergy that is required to make our lives better. In addition to the Teachers Fund and the various welfare services, the Ghana National Association (GNAT) at the recent National Delegates Conference introduced a new GNAT Home Ownership Scheme (GHOS) which is meant to help teachers to become homeowners instead of tenants and the Cancer Fund which will offer treatment for teachers, their spouses and children who may be afflicted with cancer.

It will therefore be imperative for young teachers to continue to join and remain with GNAT in order to take advantage of such useful investments that will better their lot.

The government must remember that these harsh policies will one day come back to affect the sector negatively. The only thing they must remember is not to blame it solely on teachers when the time of reckoning comes.

By

Napoleon-Bonaparte Afenyo

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