Students from the Ghana School of Hygiene from Korle Bu, Ho and Tamale Monday picketed at the premises of the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources demanding for their unpaid training allowances accumulated over a period of 30 months.
Clad in red arm bands, the students held placards with inscriptions such as ”Allawa is our right as health students”, “Mr President where is our Allawa”, and “We need our Allawa”.
They also chanted “We need our allawa”, vowing not to leave the premises until they received their accumulated allowance.
To demonstrate their eagerness, they brought in their mattresses, clothing and some food, to indicate their preparedness for an enduring campaign.
The police were also present at the premises to ensure a peaceful demonstration.
According to the protesting students, each student was supposed to receive an amount of GH¢12,000 as the accumulated monthly allowance of GH¢400 for 30 months.
The leadership of the group from Korle Bu put the affected students at 1,348 from all three schools.
The Director in Charge of Finance and Administration at the Ministry, Mr Joseph Amoah, who addressed the students at the Ministry informed them that the Ministry was still in the process of facilitating the payment of their allowances.
The students who were obviously not pleased with the response maintained that they would not leave the premises without the allowance.
The National Chairman of the Coalition of Hygiene Students, Mr Raymond Anokye told Graphic Online that they had engaged the Ministry on a number of occasions and had been told that a committee was to be set up to fast-track the processing of their allowances.
“It is disheartening knowing what is going on. When we got here on August 6, we were told by the Ministry that a letter had been dispatched from the Sanitation Ministry to the Ministry of Finance. We were later told that the document had no budget allocated for the payment of the allowances.
“This shows that both ministries were not sincere to us, because they are reinventing the same story told since 2017. We do not agree to that this time around, we are staying here till we receive the money”, he said.
President of the Students Representative Council (SRC) of the Ghana School of Hygiene, Korle Bu, Mr. Freeheart Owusu Ampomah also reiterated efforts made over the three-year period to get the allowance paid but all of which have been futile.
“We are back to the Ministry of Sanitation, we have still not received any positive response. We are here for our financial clearance, we are not leaving, we are serious this time around, we will sleep here until we get the money”, he said.
Another student, Ms Rachel Elorm, said “Right now we need our money, they should find a way and give us our money. We came here two weeks ago and we were told to go to the Ministry of Finance for the clearance. On Monday we were told there was no budget. Today we have come, and we have been told the same story, so we are not leaving”, she said.
The Ghana School of Hygiene provides technical assistance and guidelines for basic training including training needs assessment and curriculum development of Environmental Health and Sanitation officers at the various educational institutions.
Final year students of the school boycotted their final examination which took place on Monday, July 20 to register their displeasure over the years of unpaid allowances.
The GSH wings in Tamale and Ho joined colleagues at Korle Bu, Accra to demonstrate.
The students alleged that allowances had been completely scrapped without any explanation, despite restoring allowances for other nursing students.
They lamented that though they are the highest fee-paying nursing school, they receive no money from the government and still get sacked from examination halls over unpaid fees.
They accused both the Finance and Sanitation ministries of not being open with them on when they will receive their allowances.
The students have been pointing to the fact that the government has restored the allowances of their colleague nursing trainees and bemoaned their current situation, quipping as to why they have been left out.