July 19, 2024
P.O.Box 613ER Gombilla House, Lamashegu Market, Tamale, Northern Region

Gov’t allocates 30% quota in nursing training admissions to only NPP members, denying qualified students ~ NDC

The Northern Regional Secretariat of the National Democratic Congress has bemoaned the sharp decline in quality at the education sector, especially the pre-tertiary level.

The party is of the belief that, focus of the government is now on destabilizing tertiary institutions in the country, particularly at the healthcare sector.

It alleged that, the NPP government has written to principals of health training institutions, mandating that 30% of the school’s admissions capacity will come from the government.

Thus, if a school has a quota to admit 1,000 students, the school is allowed to admit only 700, and the government will bring its list of 300 slots to make up the 1,000 quota.

According to the statement signed by the Northern regional secretary of the NDC, Mohammed Abdul Salam and copied to www.radiotamaleonline.com, aside the reserved 30% quota for government protocol admissions, politicians—DCEs, MCEs, ministers, party executives, party thugs, among others—besiege the offices of the principals of health training institutions to demand admission offers from the remaining 70%.

He further revealed that, Principals who refuse to comply with these party members’ requests are often labelled as anti-government and earmarked for possible victimization. In the end, more than half of the admissions go to prospective students not strictly based on merit but rather on the power of politicians.

READ FULL STATEMENT HERE

ADDRESSING THE DISTURBING AND CORRUPT ADMISSION PRACTICES IN HEALTH TRAINING INSTITUTIONS
Introduction

Our health training institutions (HTIs) are vital for our national development, as a healthy nation is a prosperous one.

A healthy workforce is essential for driving productivity and self-sufficiency, and the prioritization of healthcare plays a significant role in the development of first-world countries.

Countries like the US, the UK, and other Western nations have attracted health professionals worldwide with attractive incentives.

Ghana has recently experienced a mass exodus of well-rounded health professionals to wealthier countries, which invest heavily in healthcare infrastructure and professionals. This has severely impacted the number of health professionals trained in Ghana with limited resources.

The departure of these professionals is not solely due to financial reasons but also stems from concerns about the current government’s poor and corrupt management across various sectors.

The Regional Executives of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) are deeply concerned about the future of our country. We feel it’s crucial to highlight issues in our HTIs that are harming our healthcare institutions.

The NPP government has undermined our educational institutions, especially at the pre-tertiary level, and is now focusing on destabilizing our tertiary institutions, particularly in the healthcare sector.

The Corrupt Practices

We want to bring the public’s attention to critical concerns regarding the fairness and transparency of admissions processes in our health training institutions. The current procedures appear to prioritize a chosen few while putting thousands of potential secondary school graduates at a disadvantage. This situation requires immediate intervention and rectification.

  1. Over the years, the NPP government has written to principals of health training institutions, mandating that 30% of the school’s admissions capacity will come from the government. Thus, if a school has a quota to admit 1,000 students, the school is allowed to admit only 700, and the government will bring its list of 300 slots to make up the 1,000 quota.
  2. Besides the reserved 30% quota for government protocol admissions, politicians—DCEs, MCEs, ministers, party executives, party thugs, among others—besiege the offices of the principals of health training institutions to demand admission offers from the remaining 70%. Principals who refuse to comply with these party members’ requests are often labelled as anti-government and earmarked for possible victimization. In the end, more than half of the admissions go to prospective students not strictly based on merit but rather on the power of politicians.
  3. The NPP government promised to restore the allowances of nurse trainees, a promise the government has woefully failed to uphold. We can assert that nurse trainees’ allowances have been in arrears for 19 months. Our inquiries with the national president of the Ghana Nurses and Midwives Trainees Association revealed that they have petitioned the government several times, to no avail. He added that JoyNews granted them an audience to appeal to the government to at least pay them three months, but they received no response. It is essential to note that the NPP government reduced the admissions quota for various HTIs under the guise of restoring the allowance. Consequently, admissions quotas continue to dwindle, yet the government continues to control admissions into health training institutions for their selfish political interests.
  4. It is crucial to note that thousands of young secondary school leavers apply for admissions into health training institutions. For instance, about 6,500 applied last year for spaces at Nalerigu College of Health Sciences. Regrettably, only a fraction of that number was admitted, leaving more than 3,000 students to face uncertainty. Can we imagine the average number of students who are rejected in all health training institutions across the country? Aside from the demoralization of these rejected students, they also lose a significant amount of money in the process. They incur expenses for admission vouchers, non-refundable interview fees, travel costs to attend interviews, and compulsory accommodations organized by their prospective schools.
  5. You may recall that this same NPP government introduced the contentious Public Universities Bill. The bill represented a “desperate authoritarian agenda to assail the pillars of insulation and thereby blatantly interfere with the management of our higher institutions of learning, in flagrant violation of Article 21 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.” The academic community in Ghana vehemently opposed the bill. Drawing from the famous Agyapadie document, the NPP has planned to hijack every sector of Ghana and bestow it upon their unmeritorious family and cronies. The pervasive practices in the health training institutions are just a template the NPP is employing to capture Ghana. Although the Public Universities Bill was defeated at its inception, this government of the select few has successfully implemented a similar agenda in our health institutions by seizing control of admissions.
  6. Currently, health training institutions have extended admissions offers to successful candidates for the 2023/2024 academic year. The tuition fees range from GHS4,000 to GHS6,000, varying with the program and gender of the student. However, there’s a requirement for prospective students to complete their fee payments within just one week. Regrettably, students unable to meet this deadline will forfeit their admission offers. This decision, while understandable from an administrative standpoint, appears somewhat inconsiderate given the challenging economic times many families are facing. The prevailing economic hardship, coupled with the stringent timeframe for fee settlement, could potentially prevent numerous deserving students from pursuing their dreams of becoming healthcare professionals. In light of these circumstances, we earnestly implore the government and all relevant stakeholders to promptly consider intervening in this situation.

The Dangers of the Practice

  1. Undermining Meritocracy: Unfair admissions practices compromise merit-based selection, potentially lowering the quality of healthcare professionals and patient care, which has broader implications for the healthcare system.
  2. Favouritism and Political Interference: These practices foster favouritism and political meddling in crucial sectors, eroding trust and integrity. Such interference can extend beyond admissions, affecting the overall governance of institutions.
  3. Denying Deserving Students: Unfair practices deny deserving students equal educational opportunities, hampering national development and contributing to a growing disparity in access to quality education.
  4. Risk to Patient Safety: Allowing unqualified admissions based on political connections jeopardizes patient safety by lowering healthcare standards, creating potential health risks for the population at large.
  5. Financial Burden on Rejected Applicants: Rejected applicants face substantial financial hardships due to admission-related costs. This exacerbates economic challenges for many young Ghanaians, limiting their ability to pursue alternative educational or career paths.

Demands for Change

We would like to make the following demands from the government to reverse these detrimental practices, including the hijacking of our health training institutions. Ghana belongs to all of us, not just a privileged few. Therefore, we demand:

  1. Immediate Reforms: We demand that the government take immediate steps to reform the admissions process in health training institutions, eliminating the arbitrary allocation of 30% of admissions capacity and ending political interference in the remaining 70%. Admissions should be solely based on merit and fairness.
  2. Nurse Trainee Allowances: The government must fulfil its promise to restore nurse trainee allowances and clear the arrears, addressing the financial hardships faced by aspiring healthcare professionals. These allowances should not be tied to reductions in admissions quotas.
  3. Transparency and Accountability: We call for greater transparency and accountability in the admissions process, with clear guidelines and oversight mechanisms to prevent undue influence and the victimization of principals
  4. Equal Access to Education: It is imperative that the government ensures equal access to education for all qualified secondary school leavers who aspire to join health training institutions. The rejection of thousands of students due to unfair practices must cease.
  5. Protection of Democratic Values: We insist that the government upholds the democratic values enshrined in the Constitution of Ghana, refraining from attempts to politicize vital sectors such as healthcare and education. The government must commit to fair, merit-based admissions and cease any actions that undermine these principles.

ISSUED BY:

Mohammed Abdul Salam
Regional Secretary
0244170692

For Media Inquiries, Please Contact: 0244170692

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