11.08.2020 Feature Article

Prof John Gatsi Writes...Statement On The Free SHS : Is History On The Side Of John Mahama?

Prof John Gatsi
LISTEN AUG 11, 2020
Prof John Gatsi

Statements made today create history when one crosses over to tomorrow. Historia is the Greek version of the word history. The word history relates to facts, truth told, lies told, knowledge created, lessons and inquiries into specific events in the past. The past is history.

History is one of the greatest assets of humanity. History is a journey into the repository of knowledge, wisdom and events to shape society today.

History may influence the choice of leaders, how to manage the economy, lawmaking and how to rearrange activities in society.

It is a historical fact, knowledge and record that there was an election in 2008 and the main message by the main opposition party then was massive corruption, sale of state property ( land, SOEs such as Ghana Telecom etc), and exclusive economic benefits.

The incumbent, on the other hand, believed the introduction of the National Health Insurance Scheme NHIS) was enough to win votes. Activities by the incumbent were largely described as arrogance and destructive entitlement. The main campaign was therefore on the NHIS and emphatic statements that the main opposition party will cancel the NHIS when voted and called on voters not to make such a mistake.

The issues for 2020 elections are similar. In 2008 the main opposition party explained that they started pilot Projects for the eventual introduction of the health insurance scheme at the national level therefore they were not going to cancel the NHIS. The electorates believed this explanation and voted for the opposition to come to power in January 2009. True to the campaign message NHIS was not cancelled, it was enhanced.

Today, it is Free SHS and the same main opposition party explained that Free SHS is constitutional educational requirement with an approach called progressively free. That they started with the progressively free to be expanded every year backed by massive investments in educational infrastructure. This explanation is fortified with historical records.

The incumbent, on the other hand, maintains that a vote for the main opposition party means cancellation of the Free SHS.

The position of the incumbent on Free SHS does not demonstrate any support from history. In fact one will argue that Free SHS is the enhanced form of Progressively Free SHS and ask how can the opposition cancel what has been enhanced.

The only option left for the opposition is to resolve the challenges of infrastructure to do away with the double track system.

Some opposition party members say their campaign message on the Free SHS is that Free SHS has come to stay, they will fast track the completion of the abandoned E- Classroom blocks to create convenient teaching and learning environment for teachers and students as well as the assurance to parents that teaching and learning as known by educationists will be brought back.

Again, in 2008, citizens did not believe corruption was being fought well and the main opposition raised the specific weaknesses in addressing corruption issues.

Discrimination and negative entitlement were issues raised by the main opposition in 2008.

Today, in 2020, the opposition is raising heightened form of discrimination and the use of some security agencies to intimidate some Ghanaians with the promise to unite the country and ensure inclusive Ghana.

History they say may repeat itself. So is 2008 being repeated in the 2020 elections?

From the above, one can conclude that history is firmly on the side of John Mahama when he said “ the Free SHS has come to stay and he will make it better and fast track the completion of the educational infrastructure to do away with the double track.”

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