Non-Payment Of Feeding Grants By Government
Information gathered by the News Desk of the Colleges of Education Weekly Journal indicates that Colleges of Education are likely to be closed down in the coming weeks as a result of non-payment of feeding grants by the Government.
Deep throat sources revealed that most Colleges are highly indebted to suppliers as a result of non-payment of funds to these suppliers who supplied goods (food items) to the Colleges for the whole of the first semester, which spanned from January-April, of the 2020/2021 academic year.
One of the Principals who spoke to the News Desk, on condition of anonymity, stated that “we are seriously handicapped. For the whole of the first semester, some of us took food items from our suppliers without giving them a penny. Schools have reopened again, students have reported and we have nothing in the warehouse to feed them. No supplier is ready to give out items on credit again”.
Another indicated that they used their students’ fees, meant for recurrent expenditure, to pay suppliers with the hope that the feeding fees will be released in the semester. Now funds to take care of recurrent expenditure (such as pay utilities, fuel, purchase of perishables to cook for the students, etc) is a big problem.
When the News Desk contacted most Principals and Finance Officers in Colleges across the country, they all confirmed the situation and are calling on the government to intervene immediately to avert the closure of the Colleges.
Attempts made by the News Desk to reach out to the CEO of the Student Loan Trust Fund (SLTF) to speak on the matter did not yield any proper outcome as the CEO informed the News Desk that he was out of town and will respond to the News Desk immediately he gets back to the office within the week.
On Friday, March 12, 2021, Hon. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, Member of Parliament for Suame Constituency who doubles as the Honourable Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Majority Leader & Leader of Government Business presented the Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government of Ghana for the 2021 Financial Year under the theme “Economic Revitalization through Completion, Consolidation & Continuity”.
Presenting the budget on the floor of parliament, Mr. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu stated that “Mr. Speaker, to make Colleges of Education freely accessible to all eligible students and train teachers to drive quality education provision, an amount of GH¢78,857,120 was disbursed to a total of 47,135 teacher trainees in all public Colleges of Education for the second semester of the 2019/2020 academic year. In 2021, an amount of GH¢171,241,500 will be paid for the first and second semesters of the 2020/2021 academic year”.
It is however yet to be known when the monies will be paid to the students and the Colleges respectively to avert the closure of the schools.
In a related development, GETFund has since the last quarter of 2019 not released any fund allocated for Faculty Development and Research for the Colleges. Every year, GETFund allocates a specific amount to all Colleges to support staff embarking on further studies and publications toward their professional development. What this means is that since 2019 till date GETFund has not released any allocation to the Colleges in that regard. This has created apathy and despondency among Staff in the Colleges. Staff cannot phantom why the Government is adamant about their professional development which is part of the transitional arrangement towards the upgrade of the Colleges.
Furthermore, the Principals indicated that the Government promised to provide some infrastructural facilities (i.e. Classrooms and Accommodation facilities) to take care of the increase in enrolment as the result of the free SHS policy. Based on that promise, most Colleges increased their enrolment in anticipation of the promise but to no avail. The situation has been exacerbated by the four-year initial B. Ed. Programme where teacher trainees might have to spend four years on campus, unlike the Diploma programme where only two-year groups stayed on campus. These have created an unbearable situation in the Colleges that has culminated in the blended learning currently ongoing in the Colleges, where some year groups stay home and have lectures online while other groups are on campus for face-to-face lectures.
The News Desk will keep monitoring the situation and update you in subsequent publications.
Source: News Desk, Colleges of Education Weekly Journal