Nana Akufo-Addo receiving a present from Prempeh College officials
PRESIDENT NANA Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has descended heavily on saboteurs of the Free Senior High School (SHS) programme, stressing that he would not scrap the positive policy because of their constant criticisms.
He has observed that some people in the country, who claim to be social democrats, have constantly criticized the programme – which he noted had enabled several Ghanaian children to access quality education, so far – and that they (critics) had predicted doom for it.
According to him, leadership and governance are all about choices and his administration had decided to spend the country’s resources to educate its children, who are the future leaders, and so nothing would compel him to scrap the programme.
President Akufo-Addo confidently stated that the Free SHS policy would never crash in five years’ time as the saboteurs of the policy had predicted, urging Ghanaians not to fall for propagandist activities of the critics.
“Those politically-motivated propagandists initially said the Free SHS programme could be possible in 20 years’ time; and now that the policy has been rolled out, they have changed their language, saying that the policy will crash in five years’ time.
“Let me burst their bubble again. Free SHS is here to stay because leadership is about choices, and I have no doubt that the overwhelming majority of Ghanaians support the choice that I have made. They recognise the importance of the investment we are making in the youth and in the future of our country. The investment will be sustained,” he rubbished the criticisms.
He was speaking during the 68th Annual Speech and Prize-Giving Day celebration of Prempeh College in Kumasi on Sunday. The historic programme was graced by some other top personalities in the country.
Among the bigwigs that were present were former President John Agyekum Kufuor; Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, Education Minister; Nana Asante Bediatuo, Executive Secretary to the president and Nana Owusu Afriyie, the Apagyahene – who are all ‘old boys’ of the college.
President Akufo-Addo noted with dismay, “I continue to be puzzled as to the vehemence with which so-called social democrats oppose or attempt to undermine measures designed to address poverty. Their demagoguery and opportunism will always be exposed.
“The Free SHS policy will not crash; the policy is good for our country and it has come to stay, regardless of what the saboteurs of the positive policy will say and predict.”
According to him, statistics show that thousands of BECE graduates, who secured placements in the various SHSs, were dropping out on a yearly basis, which was dangerous for the future stability of the country, and so his administration had decided to use the Free SHS to halt the negative trend.
The president said he had realized that some few people, who had been blindfolded due to their political motivations, had kicked against the positive policy, stressing that their negative comments don’t bother him.
On the theme for the celebration – ‘The Role of Stakeholders in Educating the Boy-Child in Contemporary Times’ – the president stressed the need for the youth of the country to be supported to get properly educated.
President Akufo-Addo admitted that the Free SHS had experienced some few challenges, but he stated that it is normal for the new policy to encounter the challenges.
He pointed out, “A journey of thousand miles begins with a step, and that is what we have done,” adding that there is no turning back on the Free SHS programme, which has come to improve the country’s human resource base.
Samuel K. Fordjour, the headmaster of Prempeh College, stressed the need for the state to use its resources to educate the boy-child so that he would grow to become influential in future.
He appealed to the government to complete the GETFund projects that had been abandoned at the school since 2009, noting that Prempeh College’s infrastructure was getting obsolete as the school had not had any serious rehabilitation since its establishment.
Deserving students, who distinguished themselves academically, were rewarded with handsome prizes.
FROM I.F. Joe Awuah Jnr., Kumasi