Good afternoon fellow Ghanaians.The long awaited September is now here with us. We must all thank the Most High God for His love and care upon us as a country.
Education,we can say is the passport to the future,this is because tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today and the reason why as humans we always need to be Persistent,Focused and Confident in our efforts because it will enable us find more success in our endeavors.
It is therefore evident that,an investment in knowledge pays the best interest.
The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically.So it is important for all citizens to have access to education at any level in our country.
In a nut shell,Intelligence plus character should be the goal of any true education.This should be highly adhered to though as a country we are coming to start Free SHS1in for few days time.
I say congratulations to all our leaders because since Ghana's independence, successive governments have demonstrated their recognition of the importance of education to national development,by pursuing policies aimed at making education accessible to all and relevant to the social, industrial and technological development of the country.
As a statement of fact,what we are coming to have now beginning this September academic year is Free SHS1 and not Free SHS as propounded by HE Nana Addo to make Senior High School,(SHS)entirely free for all students beginning September in this academic year.
The NPP’s 2016 Manifesto was captioned “CHANGE-An Agenda For Jobs.Creating Prosperity and Equal Opportunity For All”
ln Chapter 9 of their manifesto which talks about education has this to say about the Free SHS. “The NPP will redefine basic education to include Senior High School (SHS),covering vocational,agricultural and technical schools,and make it available for free on a universal basis to all Ghanaians”
So where was it stated or written that,only SHS 1 Students should or would benefit from their so called policy?Again,one will ask so are they by so doing, Creating Equal Opportunity For All as stated in their own manifesto?
There are some who argued that,we must definitely start from somewhere.In as much as l respect their opinions it must also be noted that,political leaders who trade in deception to win votes seem to ignore the fact that,lying to the electorates undermines the trust of the people they seek to govern.
Now coming back to the main issue,l want to state emphatically that,it is very worrying to have read a letter signed by the Ag.Director General of GES giving just 48hours ultimatum to BECE Students for the selection of schools.
GES in their own discretion gave qualified BECE candidates who did not get placed in their first choice school just 48 hours to select an available option.
This l am still finding difficult to understand,why such a short time would be given for an important exercise like this one taking into consideration the future of the students and the and the country.
As a country we were already informed earlier over 36,000 missed the cut off point for SHS placement.
This must also be a headache to us all,though some may not see the need and others may also even be happy for several other reasons.
But the issues are that,how will GES get to know whether their message was delivered to the affected students or not?Could this directive be considered as that,they don't care whether the affected students got the message and did accordingly or not?Have they considered those in rural areas who must travelled several kilometres to get access to the internet?Have they considered internet failure and light outs etc?
The bone of contention is that,if over 36,000 students could not be placed and in addition this policy will not even favour those going to form 2 and 3 then why are we then in a rush to deny these innocent students assess to education if they are not able to meet the shocking 48hours ultimatum?This is not our Ghanaian culture,something is not adding up.
GES should do the right thing by rescinding their earlier decision on this slim window given to the affected students to do this important exercise.
GES should respect the rights of the affected students and open the window wild for students to enable all of them be able to go through this exercise successfully.
To avoid suffocating the students under this current unfair 48hours ultimatum.
GES knew very very well Friday was a public holiday and Saturday a weekend but went ahead to give just those two days.Oh no!GES should be different and be seen as a pace setter concerning very important issues of a nature like this one.
Again,GES is aware of the fact that,most of the students have to rely on internet cafés to access information on their status and these cafés are likely to be closed during the holiday at some places and likewise the weekend too as well.
I want to say at this juncture that, just yesterday one teacher in Ho took 8 of his students to café to assist them do the new selection but unfortunately they couldn't get access to do what was demanded from them because the link was down.
So what then happens to those affected students who heard it and even tried but did not get access due to technology failure?
As captured in NCCE document "My Ghana,My Value"which are Responsibility,Tolerance,Discipline and Courtesy.l think this must guide the conduct of GES in this matter.
Now coming back to earlier submission,how many students living in very remote rural areas of this country got this information as we speak?Is there any way we can check?If yes let us know.If no then why the short unfair ultimatum?
In my opinion GES should consider giving at least one week minimum for this very important exercise and not the current unfriendly, suffocating and elimination by rough tactics 48hours ultimatum.
This 48 hours directive is not in the best interest of the affected students and the country as a whole.
I am therefore appealing to GES to reconsider its decision due to the constraints with the short notice given and calling on other Civil Society Organizations to do same.Remember HE Nana Addo said we should be citizens and not spectators.
Government must understand that,Free SHS 1 without creating the enabling environment and clearing all outstanding issues affecting teachers especially on issues concerning their salary arrears etc will not worth it.
To conclude,l will like to say that,Friday 8th September,2017 is International Literacy Day on the Theme "Literacy in a digital world"Let us all make it a point to mark the day accordingly.
Long Live Ghana
Long Live GES
Long Live BECE Students