A former MCE for the Akuapem South Municipal Assembly, George Opare Addo, has stated that the Progressively Free SHS Educational policy that was being implemented by the John Mahama administration was designed to contain and forestall operational challenges that have bedeviled the NPP government’s newly rolled out Free SHS Policy.
Speaking on the Global Morning Show Tuesday September 12, 2017, Mr. Opare-Addo opined that the reason the erstwhile NDC government opted for a progressively free education was that it foresaw the very challenges that now confront government’s policy, and so designed a policy that was meant to progressively open up access to education to all in a manner that would make it practically operational.
“We foresaw these challenges of the free SHS, and that was why we were of the opinion that it should be progressively free. What we meant by progressively free was increasing access to education; and by increasing access we expected that every child of school-going age would have access to quality secondary school education. That was why we undertook the audacious project of building 200 new senior high schools. If we had had the time to complete all 200 secondary schools, we would have been creating over three hundred thousand new spaces for every Ghanaian child who writes the BECE to gain secondary school education,” he said.
“We were making these schools Day Schools because Boarding education is quite expensive with regard to feeding, so we were building Day schools so every child who is qualified to go would go,” he added.
The one-time NDC Parliamentary Candidate for the Okere Constituency averred that the NDC government came out with pragmatic failsafe measures that guaranteed that all children qualified to go to school have continuous access to quality education.
“We started the progressively free educational policy by introducing subsidies. With this, Boarders got GH¢ 68.00 while Day students got GH¢ 48.00 a term to support their education. That notwithstanding, government was also subsidizing the final examination (WASSCE) fees of students by bearing 70% of the total cost. Those were some of the investments we were making in education,” he said.
For him, education should not be approached as an event but as a process that needs thorough planning and careful implementation, and this, in his opinion, is what is lost on the Akufo Addo-led government.
“Education is systematic; it is gradual, not an event. What these people (NPP government) are doing is they are making Free SHS an event, because there will definitely be bottlenecks, there will definitely be challenges and it is how you think through the policy that makes all the difference.
You would realize that even in opposition, when we asked them to tell us how much Free SHS was going to cost us, as a people, to implement Free SHS, they couldn’t tell us; and up till date they’ve still not been able to tell us how much it’s going to cost the taxpayer to implement Free SHS,” Mr. Opare Addo said.
Source: Globalfmonline.com/105.1/Etornam Ohene Sefadzi