Historically, part of the reason for introducing trainee allowances for teacher, nurses and midwife trainees were to encourage people to train as teachers, nurses and midwives. The nation needs to have a good number of trained teachers, nurses and midwives to help the nation achieve its objectives in education and healthcare. The teacher trainee allowance was cancelled in the 1970s but reinstated in 1980s following its original introduction by Ghana’s first president. The allowances for both teacher, nurses and midwives trainee allowances remained until they were abolished in 2014 and replaced with a student loan and feeding grant policy.
The abolition of trainee allowances for teachers, nurses and midwives garnered a lot of interest and various arguments were given in favour or against the abolition. One of the reasons why proponents of the allowances for trainees was because it served a very important social function. That is, they provided an opportunity for people to break the poverty cycle in their families. But for the allowances for trainees, many Ghanaians would not have had any viable alternative to pursue higher education and develop their careers. Many relied on the allowances to pay for their fees and all other expenses whiles receiving training.
Although a lot of time has passed since the policy for paying trainee allowances were introduced, there are many Ghanaians for whom the allowances remain the best option for them to pursue higher education and develop their careers. Opportunities for a lot more Ghanaians to break the poverty cycle in their families by training as teachers, nurses and midwives have now increased. With the introduction of the Free SHS policy a lot more Ghanaians who could not afford SHS education can now have access to SHS education. The same people who otherwise could not pursue SHS now have the opportunity to develop a career for themselves by training as nurses, midwives and teachers.
One of the aspirations of this nation is to provide equal opportunities for all citizens to pursue their dreams. With the reintroduction of the trainee allowances for teachers, nurses and midwives, as well as the introduction of the Free SHS policy the government of Nana Addo has opened a genuine path for Ghanaians to develop their careers and break the cycle of poverty.