Political expediency is gradually sneaking into our body politics and politicians have embraced the idea in their quest to winning political power. Countdown to the 2020 elections had seen many policy promises emanating from the two biggest political parties: NPP and NDC. Prior to the 2016 elections, education took the center stage as Nana Addo promised to make SHS free.
The abolishing of the teacher training allowance and the three-month pay policy affected many teachers across the country. NDC lost the 2016 elections largely due to perceived poor economic showdown and general hardship that hit the Ghanaian populace.
NDC is seeking to wrestle power from the incumbent government and has launched its manifesto dubbed “the People’s Manifesto”. The manifesto launch saw Mr. Mahama and Jane Naana outlining some of the key policies of the party when giving the opportunity to return to power for the fifth time.
The 2020 NDC manifesto had tried to decorate their educational policies with a lot of policies and promises that are largely pointing to inconsistency, populism and afterthoughts.
In the first place, the inconsistencies in their manifesto manifest themselves clearly when the NDC categorically stated that they will abolish the double-track system of the free SHS. They also maintained that they will review the Free SHS by completing existing incomplete structures that had been abandoned by the NPP and release some of the pressure to some ‘deprived private schools’. I think this is highly inconsistent with what NDC Mr. Mahama had said sometimes ago in this country about the free SHS.
Mr. Mahama strongly maintained in 2016 that the free SHS is not feasible and that it must be made progressively free. In 2012, he promised to put up 200 E-blocks as a means of meeting the infrastructure deficit of the Senior High School education in this country. The credibility now stares clearly at Mr. Mahama when he takes a ‘u-turn’ and begins to make wide promises on something that he had never believed would even work in the first place. He had been captured also questioning the 2 billion yearly funding of the Free SHS policy.
Abolishing the double track is ongoing as the NPP government is building more infrastructures to ease off the track system. Again, attending a private school is a choice every parent makes for their wards and all private schools aim at making a profit. So the decision to extend free SHS to private schools in totality is either not feasible or populist just to win the favour of the masses.
What is even more interesting is the policy of maintaining the teacher training allowances. The NDC flagbearer has on several occasions, in 2016, maintained that he was not going to restore the teacher training allowances even if it is going to cost him his presidency. It is flabbergasting to hear the NDC say that they will maintain the allowance the NPP had restored.
The big question comes to mind, what informed the NDC to scrap the allowance in the first place, and what is informing them to maintain it when they win power? I learned from NDC Mr. Mahama that he had committed many mistakes and should be allowed to come and correct them.
The most populist of them all is when NDC sought to win the favour of tertiary students by promising to pay half of their fees for the 2020/2021 academic year due to the virus situation. It did not end there; NDC added they will supply all tertiary students with one laptop (one student one laptop). This is a glaring show of desperation for power. Another credibility issue set in when NDC had viciously introduced the payment of students’ utility bills to the university when they were in government.
The NDC government is also known to have supplied the poorest ever laptops, the RLG laptops, to students in this country embossed with Mr. Mahama’s picture. This is fresh in the minds of many students who believe that their major problem is not about 2020/21 absorption of a 50% fee or supplying them with wack RLG laptops.
The NDC as a party seems to be bereft of ideas. They were supposed to launch their manifesto three days after the launch of the NPP manifesto but postponed it for reasons best known to them. After the long wait, they brought the people’s manifesto. Many analysts had concluded that most of the things that NDC had said are just a mere English reconstruction of what NPP had either said or done.
In conclusion, however, the people’s manifesto seems to be afterthoughts since NDC do not know how exactly they can convince Ghanaians to vote out NPP. The party is just riding on what NPP had done to make promises. By inference, NDC do not have anything new to offer Ghanaians.
The People’s Manifesto might look gloomy but it certainly does not reflect what the people had said nor the aspiration of Ghanaians. NDC had on several occasions had contradicted themselves on their quest to defend the People’s Manifesto promises.
They don’t even know clearly how those things they have said will be implemented such as the clear timeline for the abolishing of the double-track system or the source of funds to pay over GH400 million fees of over 800,000 students. Clearly, there are big credibility issues in the NDC educational policies and promises as they are riddled with uncountable inconsistencies, populism and afterthoughts.