On 10th October 2020, the Hon. Minister of Education addressed a group of teachers and party activists at the Ho Technical University in the Volta Region. One of the issues addressed at the said meeting was a professional allowance the Minister said his Ministry has instituted for teachers. The said allowance, he explained, was Ghc1200.00 per annum for professional teachers and Ghc800.00 for the non professionals.
Receiving the approval from the gathering to his question if he could do a little bit of politics with the yet to be paid allowance, the Minister said when teachers received their ballot papers on December 7, they would not see Nana Addo’s picture on the ballot. “You will see thousand two, thousand two”, the Minister said. He told his audience that the allowance was to be used by teachers to persue their professional development. From all indications, the said allowance will be paid at the end of November 2020.
The Minister added that the institution of the allowance showed that the NPP is a “government that respects the teacher”. I’ll interrogate this claim of a “government that respects the teacher” in another article.
A couple of days after this meeting in Ho, GES issued a letter to the Controller and Accountant General to deduct Ghc100.00 from each teacher’s allowance before payment is effected and credit the account of the National Teaching Council, NTC.
The Ghc100.00 is the licence fee the Ministry is charging each teacher for the issuance of a licence by the NTC. This GHC100.00 deduction further reduces the yet to be paid allowance to GHC1,100.00 and GHC700.00 for the professional and nonprofessional teacher respectively.
I invite teachers to come along with me as I interrogate the value and real intent of this professional allowance.
Is it really meant for teachers’ professional development as the Minister said or a political bait desperately meant to hoodwink teachers into voting for the NPP in the December 2020 elections?
VALUE OF THE ALLOWANCE
The allowance as the Minister intimated is GHC1,200.00 per year for professional teachers and GHC800.00 per year for nonprofessional teachers. This amount is a one time payment. This works out to GHC100.00 and GHC66.66 per month for professional and nonprofessional teachers respectively. For the fact that the NPP has been in government for the past four years (48 months), this allowance in real terms translates to GHC25.00 per month (GHC1200 ÷ 48 months) for the professional teacher and GHC16.66 per month for the nonprofessional.
The question then is, how can this amount be used by teachers for their professional development? How much fee do nonprofessional teachers pay to UEW and UCC to pursue professional courses? And which of the two categories of teachers – professional or nonprofessional- needs more money for professional development?
Now let us compare this professional allowance with the Retention Premium instituted by the NDC for teachers. Currently, the Retention Premium is 15% of the monthly gross salary of each teacher. John Dramani Mahama has pledged in the NDC People’s Manifesto to increase the percentage in 2021 when he is elected back into office. The value of this retention premium thus varies depending on the rank of each teacher and his/her salary level.
The NDC’s retention premium thus takes into account the various ranks of teachers and its percentage based nature also caters for annual increase in salary. As salaries increase each year therefore, the amount of retention premium increases automatically without the need for renegotiation for upward adjustment.
The NPP’s yet to be implemented professional allowance gives a flat amount which does not take into account differences in the ranks of teachers and annual increases in salaries. The allowance is thus static and will require renegotiation every year for upward adjustment. For the graduate teacher entering the service at the rank of Principal Superintendent, the retention premium is GHC322.00 per month or GHC3,864.00 per annum.
How does the Minister compare his GHC25.00 per month professional allowance to the GHC322.00 per month retention premium (for the lowest paid graduate teacher)? Higher ranking teachers receive more than the ghc3,864.00 per annum. Even if we take the yet to be paid professional allowance as starting from 2020 and not 2017 when NPP assumed office, how does his GHC1,200.00 compare with the minimum GHC3,864.00 of the NDC’s?
POLITICAL BAIT INTENT
If the yet to be paid professional allowance is really meant to motivate teachers and not a political bait to hoodwink them to vote for the NPP in the December elections:
- Why did the Minister tell teachers in Ho that they would not see Nana Addo’s picture on the ballot paper on December 7 but rather GHC1,200.00?
- Why has the Minister waited for four good years he has been in charge of the Ministry to institute an allowance for teachers only when he is confronted with elections?
- Why has this allowance not been paid earlier within the year but has to be delayed till the end of November 2020, just a few days to the December 7 general elections?
Teachers would also want to know in which month this allowance will be paid next year should the NPP win the elections in December? Will it be in January 2021, August 2021 or again in November 2021? Or will the Minister again wait until elections are due in 2024 before he pays this allowance (if his party wins the elections)?
It’s pathetic how the Minister is underestimating the intelligence of teachers. I can assure him that Ghanaian teachers are very intelligent and smart and can therefore smell the elephant in his intentions.
In a speech delivered in 2016 by then Flagbearer of the NPP (now His Excellency the President) in University of Development Studies, UDS, Navrongo Campus (video available), the NPP promised to build 350 Senior High Schools from the scratch within 18months after assumption of office. That pledge has not been redeemed by His Excellency the President and the NPP.
Commenting on the failed promise on Asempa FM and captured on GhanaWeb on Saturday 24 October 2020, the Minister of Education Hon. Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh denied that the NPP in opposition or then Flagbearer of the NPP ever made any pledge to build 350 new Senior High Schools. He challenged critics to show him the page in the NPP’s 2012 and 2016 Manifesto where that pledge to build 350 new Senior High Schools was captured.
“The people in NDC are saying that Nana Addo said he will build 350 schools. They should tell me the book they found that in. Our manifesto for 2012 and 2016 are there, they should show me the page on which that can be found,” the Minister was quoted to have said. For Hon. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, he, as Minister and the NPP, cannot be held to account for reneging on their promise to build the 350 new Senior High Schools simply because, that pledge was not captured in the NPP Manifesto.
To me, that is a very solid and sustainable argument from which teachers must draw some logical deductions.
I therefore want to remind teachers all over the country that Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh’s promise to pay them professional allowance of GHC25.00 per month, or Ghc1,200.00 for the 4 years he has been at the helm of affairs as Minister of Education, has not been captured in the NPP’s 2020 Manifesto. In fact there is absolutely nothing in his party’s manifesto for teachers.
The logical conclusion teachers must make from the above position of Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh is that the payment of the professional allowance will not be honoured beyond 2020 should the NPP retain power in December 2020 just as the promise of the 350 new SHSs has been reneged on. It is not captured in the NPP 2020 Manifesto. Simplicita.
Should any teacher demand payment of this allowance next year, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh would ask him or her to show him the page in his party’s manifesto that this professional allowance can be found. Indeed no teacher can prove the existence of the allowance in the manifesto to the Minister. That’s the reason why the payment would not be appearing on teachers’ payslips on monthly basis as the NDC’s retention premium which is also captured as item 7.2.1 b on page 69 of the People’s Manifesto. Teachers can hold to account John Dramani Mahama on it.
The promise of the professional allowance, even if paid at the end of November 2020 by this government, is only an election bait meant to solicit teachers’ votes on December 7.
I urge teachers to take note of this, collect the allowance in November if paid, and go ahead to show the Minister the exit come December 7.