In a press statement signed by Mrs. Joyce Bawa Mogtari, the Mahama cousin who also served as a Deputy Minister for Transportation in the John Dramani Mahama-led government of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the former President throws the gauntlet to Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia to prove any negative stance or statements that the former President has ever made that was either suggestive or indicative of the fact that he, Mr. John Dramani Mahama, was against the Akufo-Addo-implemented fee-free Senior High School System (SHSS) – (See “If I’m Against Free SHS, Provide Evidence – Mahama Dares Bawumia” Modernghana.com 4/24/19).
Such mendacious challenge not only insults the intelligence of the Vice-President, it also calls the memory capacity of Ghanaian citizens, in general, into question. The fact of the matter is that you cannot promote the so-called Progressively Free Senior High School System and then turn around and caustically criticize President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for doggedly pursuing an unreservedly inclusive Double-Track fee-free Senior High School System that provides unfettered access to all intellectually capable and vocationally talented Ghanaian adolescents or teenagers to attend, and also make the patently false claim that your so-called Progressively Free Senior High School System is the better of the two.
You see, a “Progressively Free Senior High School System” practically implies that the policymaker or implementer, in this case Mr. John Dramani Mahama, is the one who exclusively gets to decide which eligible pupils from which parts of the country get to attend, while the rest remain indefinitely at home and out of school for as long as it takes for this scandalously elitist and gradualist system to reach them. This process of selective access means that whole academic and vocational generations of talented potential students could be permanently shut out of any timely opportunities to advance themselves, intellectually and vocationally. It is patently discriminatory and an unwise policy that is eerily akin to an invidious policy of academic and vocational apartheid. For instance, how would the architect of such an inexcusably discriminatory system decide which types of candidates from which ethnic and regional groups deserve to be given the first or prime opportunity to attend? It is also more likely to increase the crime rate among those who get shut out of such a patently unjust selection process.
Well, the former President claims to have implemented his Progressively Free SHS System for over 350,000 students, so let us ask him to give us a systematic breakdown of which parts or regions of the country these 350,000-plus students came from, and what else, in terms of educational resources or pedagogical materials were supplied them, short of the characteristic sanitary pads, prophylactics (or condoms), uniforms, shoes and drinking mugs with the image of Mr. Mahama embossed on them? He also claims to have added more infrastructure or physical plants to the existing stock of Senior High School buildings, and that his achievements in this sector of our national development is only surpassed by the Nkrumah-led government of the Convention People’s Party (CPP), of which his own late father, Mr. Emmanuel Adama Mahama, was the first Northern Regional Minister.
But the fact of the matter is that even as Mr. Franklin Cudjoe, of the IMANI-Africa think-tank, took the count near the end of Mr. Mahama’s tenure in 2016, of the 200 Senior High School buildings promised, only about 40 had been completed by January 7, 2017, when he officially handed over the democratic reins of governance to President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. Now, that comes up to a diddly 20-percent of mission accomplished, as it were. And we haven’t even begun talking about the construction of physical plant facilities at the elementary and middle levels, where the need may be even more acute. In other words, when it comes to the crafting and implementation of an all-inclusive education policy, Mr. Mahama and his double-salary scamming cabinet appointees are decidedly AWOL and without any legs to stand on.
The man also clearly lacks critical-thinking skills and may, as well, be pathologically afflicted with an abject lack of a good conscience. I also prefer to have President Akufo-Addo “mortgage” the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund), in order to provide free and inclusive access of the fee-free SHS System to all Ghanaian youths, than to selectively use the same resource to flagrantly promote the sort of ethnically and regionally biased programs that we all witnessed under Mahama’s SADA initiative.
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By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
June 8, 2019
E-mail: [email protected]