Schools of Hygiene students demo over training allowances

Students of School of Hygiene in a demonstration.Photo.Ebo Gorman

Students of School of Hygiene in a demonstration. Photo:Ebo Gorman

Students of the three Schools of Hygiene in the country, yesterday took to the streets to protest against government’s refusal to restore their training allowances.

The schools comprising Accra, Ho and Tamale campuses concurrently marched through principal streets of their respective regions to register their displeasure over what they term as “government taking them for granted”.

They were unhappy with government sidelining them after the restoration of allowances of their colleagues in the nursing and teaching fields, insisting that, it was contrary to what the Akufo-Addo led administration promised them in the 2016 electioneering period.

They said, they had gone through all necessary requirements for their allowances to be paid including submitting their e-zwich numbers, account numbers and valid identification cards for processing, yet, none of them had received the allowance.

Chanting “jama” songs in red arm bands and wielding placards bearing statements such as “Nana, give us our allowance”, Mr. President, why abandon school of hygiene students”, “Mr. President, you lied to us”, “Neglecting School of Hygiene is inexcusable” among others, the angry students served notice of not relenting in series of actions to press home their demand to have their allowances restored.

Amidst heavy police presence, more than 150 students from the Accra School of Hygiene, Korle Bu embarked on the demonstration which commenced from the Obra Spot at Circle, through the Adabraka and Accra High Street and finally ended at the Accra Hearts of Oak Park.

Drama nearly unfolded when upon reaching the Hearts of Oak Park, the students were prevented by the police from proceeding to the Ministry of Water Resources and Sanitation to present their petition to the sector Minister.

After a back and forth between both parties, it was agreed that students wait at the grounds whiles the police led by Chief Superintendent Kwesi Ofori, the Director in charge of operations Accra Region conveyed the Minister to the Park to receive the petition.

Signed by the National President, Master Jacob Amanor, the petition among others stated the government’s current stance on the issue was a “betrayal of trust” and attempt to increase untold hardship on students and their parents.

“In the midst of series of engagements between us and the Ministry, we were reliably informed that the non-payment of our allowances was a decision taken by His Excellency the President during his cabinet meeting, thus directing that we should be excluded from the list of beneficiaries for the trainee allowance that he restored for reasons best known to him.”

“This decision taken with the tacit endorsement of the President is contrary to promises made to us by the President when we hosted him during his campaign period at our various campuses. This is a clear sign that not only are we being downplayed and blacklisted, but our welfare is not paramount to the government especially as several follow ups on the matter has proved futile” the statement noted.

The petition gave government a one-week ultimatum to come out with concrete measures to address the situation, failure of which, students will abandon the schools for their respective homes.

Mr. Michael Gyato, a Deputy Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation who received the petition on behalf of the Minister, Mr. Kofi Adda promised to work in consultation with other stakeholders to address the concerns of students within the shortest possible time.

In Tamale, students who were in their school uniforms marched from their school premises which is situated at the outskirts of the Tamale metropolis through the Tamale-Bolgatanga highway to the Central Business District (CBD) area to the Northern Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) where they presented their petition copied to the President to the Northern Regional Minister, Mr. Salifu Saeed for onward submission.

According to them, they did not understand why their colleagues from the health training institutions had received their allowances as promised by the government and they were denied theirs although they went through the same necessary procedures and processes.

They said they needed the allowances to take care of their educational needs while in school, as well as other important issues since most of them did not have enough money to pay for their school fees and still cater for these things.

 

The situation was not different from the Volta region where students equally demanded the payment of their allowances.

By Abigail Annoh    

 

 

 

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