A YOUTH group going by the name United Youth Movement, which seeks to champion the interest of the Ghanaian youth, by way of education on national issues, says the Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education (FCUBE) policy, must be implemented to the letter.
In a statement issued in Kumasi last week Wednesday, and signed by the Movement's Acting Communications Officer, Mr. Ernest Brogya Genfi, the youth group wondered if the basic education was free, compulsory, and universal, and called for the fullest implementation in the strictest sense of the constitutional provisions.
Referring to Article 38 section 2 of the 1992 Constitution, which states that, “The Government shall, within two years after Parliament first meets after the coming into force of Constitution, draw up a programme for implementation within the following ten years, for the provision of free, compulsory and universal basic education.”
The Movement expected that the FCUBE should have been fully operational by the year 2005.
It explained that the first parliament meeting was in 1993, and that two years thereafter - 2005 - the policy should have been realised, but indicated rather regrettably, that, “as of today, basic education in Ghana is not free.”
The group said the free element in the FCUBE, was simply non-existent, because “there were various hidden charges which do not make it free.”
According to the movement, candidates from the Junior High School, preparing for the next Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE), are paying between GH¢9 and GH¢20 as registration fees.
It stated further as a fact, that form one pupils in the Wesley Demonstration JHS (Blk 'A') in Kumasi, being asked to buy their own desks for studies, in addition to parents buying expensive books, uniforms, extra classes and examination fees.
Touching on the compulsory aspect of the Policy, the Movement indicated that parents were obliged to send their children to school, and that the government must enforce it, yet many children do roam our streets without any sanctions, because education was not free.
It dared any government that would boast of free education, to go from house to house and arrest parents who have refused to send their children to school for prosecution, if education has actually been free
The Movement also said free education, if it was free at all, was not universal, because tuition in the private schools was not free.
Mr. Brogya Genfi has, therefore, cautioned politicians, and aspirants to political positions, to be cautious of unattainable promises in pursuit of political power.
The Movement's Communication Officer said what politicians meant by “free education” was “free tuition,” and that they must state so, since tuition in the SHS has been free long before 2000. “By the standard of Nana Akufo Addo and the NPP, SHS education is already free.”
The Youth Movement has, therefore, urged presidential nominees to focus on completing the constitutional provisions of the FCUBE, instead of promising free SHS education, or just tell Ghanaians the various aspects of students' bills, they (presidential nominees) would work to make free.
The suggestion was against the fact that students of the Afua Kobi Ampem SHS, at Trabuom in the Ashanti Region, have been paying GH¢3 per term, as fuel for a generator, since the energy crisis begun. The students also pay a building and maintenance fee of GH¢50.
The Movement has urged the youth, lawyers, teachers, market women, police and military personnel, religious leaders, traditional leaders, and all and sundry, to hold politicians to live up to their promises, and also insist that the government implement the FCUBE to the fullest.
“Let's hold politicians accountable for the words of yester-years, before giving them our mandate, since this country largely belongs to the youth,” the statement said.