Since the week started, the debate over the Free Senior High School (SHS) which begins in about a week’s time is going to become a reality, it’s reverberating.
The debate is being engineered by people who know no shame and should not have even touched this Free SHS subject especially when they tried, including using state resources in their time in government, to bastardize this noble vision of President Akufo-Addo and his NPP government.
We heard that a former Deputy Minister of Education, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa is claiming that the erstwhile Mahama NDC administration started the implementation of the Free SHS programme. That is baloney; to borrow the word of President George Walker Bush Jnr.
Just like the sod cutting for the ‘one district one factory’policy at Ekumfi the hometown of former President John Mills, the NDC quickly seized the airwaves claiming the factory was their brainchild not knowing that it was just a sod cutting for the construction of the factory. You see what naked propaganda can do?
Hear Ablakwa: Free SHS is not starting in Ghana on the 11th of September this year, it is not President Akufo-Addo who is starting free SHS and many people don’t know this. Free SHS was started in the year 2014, three years ago. The NDC under (former) President Mahama started free SHS.”
He continues: “We had a loan facility from the World Bank under the Secondary Education Improvement Programme. Under this there were four components; the first was to build the 23 senior high schools, the second component is the training we provided for Maths, Science and ICT teachers, and there was a third component called Quality Improvement Facility upgrade, and the fourth category was the scholarships for needy Senor High School students. The agreement we signed with the World Bank for the next five years at that time – 2014 to 2019 – was on granting scholarships, and implementing free SHS for 10,400 students.”
We wonder if World Bank loan can carry through the project of giving free education to over 350,000 qualified students. Scholarship can never be equated to free SHS across board because it has no restrictive criteria.
The young MP even had the effrontery to say that the opposition NDC must improve the communication strategies of the party for Ghanaians to know what they achieved during their tenure. Did Ghanaians not hear all these promises under that dubious ‘JM Toaso’ mantra and they decided not to dance along with the tune?
We can recount the number of NDC bigwigs and even public and private officials including some NGOs who were sponsored by these same NDC guys to rubbish then opposition leader Nana Akufo-Addo’s noble vision to ensure every Ghanaian child has access to secondary education regardless of the person’s social status. A good number of Ghanaians still remember vividly the numerous advert sponsored by Mr. Mahama and his NDC against the NPP’s Free SHS policy. We can’t forget the nasty things some of them said about this Free SHS.
With the reality dawning on them, the NDC is shamelessly trying to share in the glory of the free SHS after bastardizing it. They are realizing that this policy is going to serve as a catalyst for political mobilization and nation building hence trying hard to be associated with it whether by fair or foul means.
They (NDC) said it was only a campaign gimmick, nowhere near being implemented but now nobody, indeed, not even naysayers, can doubt the sincerity of the initiative.
It is refreshing to note that at long last the free SHS promise is going to be made good. All we are praying for is that the necessary inputs are provided to reduce the hitches which usually accompany novelties of such a national character.
This government has clearly demonstrated that it is capable of accelerating the development of this country and every well-meaning Ghanaian should continue to contribute his/her quota. The NDC can continue with their nauseating propaganda.