The Agricultural Colleges Students Union (ACSU) have besieged the Ministry of Agriculture to demand the immediate restoration of scrapped trainees allowances which they say the Minister Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto had promised would be restored alongside their teaching counterparts.
The students had wanted to seek audience with the minister to find out when he would redeem his promise to them but met his absence.
Colleges of Education train extension officers and other skilled personnel for the agricultural sector and the apparent disturbance in their training programme might be a setback for government’s agricultural programmes notable among them, “Planting for Food and Jobs”
There are five of such colleges in the country which were affected by government’s directive in September 2015 to have their allowances scrapped and advised to opt for the Students’ Loan Scheme. But the students contend that they enrolled in these institutions because of the financial support from government.
“And this current government gave the promises that they were going to restore the allowances to the training the training colleges so it’s something they already had. So if they’ve done so for the teacher training colleges already within this short time, I don’t think it should be a problem for us as well”.
“If you put our numbers together, we are not even up to 3,000; restoring allowances of such a number of students shouldn’t be an issue as compared to the teacher training colleges that number between the 50,000 and above. So our issue should not be any issue that should take a year, several months to restore” – Spokesperson for the Agricultural Colleges Students Union Lawrence Amegboe told XYZ News’ Joe Bright Nyarko.
When contacted, the Public Relations Officer for the Ministry of Agriculture Bagbara Tanko assured the students the Ministry was working on their concerns and that financial clearance was being sought to have government meet its financial obligations to them.
“With human resource, we need them regarding the Planting for Food and Job policy. We actually need these extension officers to be able to execute this project to a success” he said.
He further revealed that there ware strategic plans to solve the infrastructure challenges in the colleges of agriculture scattered across the country.
“As a ministry we would not say we are unaware, we’re aware of their issues, we’re aware of the grievances and like I said we started working on them far ahead. To just give them another assurance there’s light at the end of the tunnel, there’s hope” Mr Tanko said.
By: Joe Bright Nyarko