The Ministry of Education has exposed members of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) over what it says is their 'diabolical manoeuvres' to tarnish the image of the ministry and the government on social media.
It said social media reports suggesting that the ministry, out of panic, following the NDC's manifesto launch, was working behind the scenes to include private schools into the Free Senior High School (SHS) policy is 'palpably false.'
According to the ministry, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh (aka Napo), who is the sector minister, met with delegations from the Ghana National Council of Private Schools (GNCPS) and Ghana National Association of Private Schools (GNAPS) four days before the NDC launched its manifesto.
The Press Secretary to the minister, Rodney Nkrumah-Boateng, in a press release, stated categorically that it could not have been possible for the ministry to pre-empt what was in the NDC manifesto and taken an action to counter it as being claimed by the NDC.
The statement said the meeting between the minister and GNCPS/ GNAPS had nothing to do with the extension of the Free SHS programme to cover private schools as the NDC is claiming.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the ministry wishes to state emphatically that this is false and should be disregarded,” Mr. Nkrumah-Boateng directly responded to reports about plans to extend Free SHS to private schools due to pressure from the NDC's manifesto.
“The meeting was not to discuss the facilitation of extending Free SHS to private schools as it has been suggested on social media platforms, and the general public is hereby invited to completely disregard the opportunistic and desperate attempts to paint a contrary picture,” he added.
Setting the records straight, he said, “On Wednesday, 2nd and Thursday, 3rd September 2020, the minister received delegations from GNCPS and GNAPS at the ministry to discuss a number of issues. It must be noted that both meetings were held before the NDC manifesto launch on Monday, 7th September.
“In both instances, the discussions were around post-Covid-19 challenges in the educational sector and the way forward, the reopening of schools, private schools and their livelihoods and the sustenance of their business. In attendance were officials of the Ghana Education Service (GES) and the National Inspectorate Board (NIB).”
According to him, the discussions between the minister and the delegations were frank and healthy and a common ground was found on several issues, stressing that the ministry was utterly shocked about the propagandist action being undertaken by the NDC to tarnish the image of government.
He recounted that the meeting between Napo and GNCPS/GNAPS was posted on the ministry's Facebook page, “from which it is verifiable that the meetings took place on the dates as stated earlier and, therefore, could not possibly have been held following the launch of the NDC manifesto.”
Mr. Nkrumah-Boateng stated, “Government remains committed to ensuring the success of the Free SHS programme to improve both access and quality education for Ghanaian children and will not be sidetracked from this objective.”
He reiterated that the public should strongly reject the NDC's blatant lies.