The caption of the present column is a very well-known Akan-language proverb; and it was the first very thought that flashed through my mind, when I read the news item titled “Free SHS Won’t Be Reversed, I Will Remove Bottlenecks – Mahama” (Modernghana.com 8/14/19). The fact of the matter is that former President John Dramani Mahama is the main and only “bottleneck” that stands in the way of the sustainability of the Akufo-Addo-implemented fee-free Senior High School System. He smugly says that the fee-free SHS System is, indeed, “underpinned by the 1992 Constitution of Ghana and it cannot be reversed by any government but all administrations including this one and any future one have an obligation to make it a qualitative and enjoyable experience for our children.”
So, the next most logical question to ask the former President is the following: “Why didn’t you, Mr. John Mahama, and the late President John Evans Atta-Mills not implement the fee-free Senior High School System during the 8 years that you two gentlemen jointly and collectively held the democratic reins of governance, especially since you, Mr. Mahama, also claim that the mandate for the same has been on the statutory books or in the Constitution since 1992?” As well, wasn’t it simply because as an infamous scofflaw, you simply had absolutely no regard for this constitutional mandate, or you simply had absolutely no clue on how to legitimately implement the same?
It is also deeply offensive for you to assert that you could make the present Akufo-Addo-implemented fee-free SHS System more qualitative, when your actual track-record points to your wanton and reckless destruction of the current SHS System by your callous and unconscionable reduction of the same from the globally accepted standard 4-year duration to a 3-year woefully under-resourced system that sent the quality of the country’s SHS System tumbling apocalyptically and catastrophically down to the very bottom of the rankings of some 145 countries around the world, according to the Paris-based UN-sponsored Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Now, tell us, precisely what measure or measures did you put in place, when you were in power, to significantly enhance the quality of the John Agyekum-Kufuor-implemented National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS)? Mr. Naked, first, cover up your grossly indecent exposure or nakedness, and then we can talk as two mature adults, one to another, sensibly and constructively.
What all this means, Mr. Mahama, in case you happen to be rather too cognitively sluggish to fully appreciate the same, is that according to crackerjack education experts at the OECD, you, former President John Dramani Mahama, have absolutely no remarkable sense of precisely what constitutes a qualitative education for Ghanaians to risk putting the destiny of their children and grandchildren into your hands for even a split-second. Or is it a nanosecond? But, of course, the smarter approach for realistically gauging the fact of whether, indeed, you meant what recently told the Ghanaian public, vis-à-vis your promise not to reverse the fee-free SHS System, is, for us, the hardworking and taxpaying blue-collar workers and middle-class Ghanaian workers, and civil and public servants, to revisit your initial vehement rejection and expression of disdain, in the auspicious wake of the implementation of the SHS System by the inimitably visionary President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
Of course, like your old political soulmate, Mr. Alban SK Bagbin, your gut reaction was to arrogantly call the common sense and the usefulness of having all able-bodied Ghanaian youths who qualified to be afforded fee-free access to our Senior High System into question. It is also laughable for you to be promising to call a national stakeholders’ conference to assess the usefulness and the most efficient manner in which to continue with the pursuit of a fee-free SHS System of education, in the highly unlikely event of you being sent back to Jubilee House in January 2021 to, once again, get the chance to thumb your nose at the very people who elected you President in 2012, by telling them, once again, that they have absolutely no constitutional right to criticize your job performance because nobody ever elected any of them to the highest and most powerful office of the land.
And, also, just precisely what came out of your lavishly catered so-called Senchi Stakeholders’ Conference on Dumsor? You could have fooled us!
*Visit my blog at: kwameokoampaahoofe.wordpress.com Ghanaffairs
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
August 14, 2019
E-mail: [email protected]
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