The National Youth Organiser of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), Henry Nana Boakye says the sudden U-turn of Former President John Mahama on 'Free SHS Policy' is clear show of deceptive, shrouded in treachery and should not be given a listening ear.
According to him, the unexpected utterances made by Former President Mahama whiles speaking at the 27th Annual Residential Delegate Congress organized by the Ghana National Union of Technical University Students in Kumasi contradicts the moldy entrenched hostility exhibited by the NDC against the Free SHS Policy since 2008.
Addressing the media at a 'Youth Must Know Series', the National Youth Organiser said “For the avoidance of doubt and in the spirit of making it known to the youth of Ghana, the NPP youth wing, without a shred of equivocation, asserts that the seeming endorsement given to Free SHS policy by former president Mahama is driven by ill-faith, deception and opportunism borne out of former president Mahama and the NDC’s innate tendencies to subtly associate themselves with good things and to benefit from same.”
According to him, Former President Mahama and the NDC in 2012 sponsored over 46 radio and television adverts against the Free SHS policy. Their vicious advances against the policy assumed fearsome crescendo when in the lead up to the 2012 elections, a tape purported to have the voice of the respected Man of God, Pastor Mensah Otabil was doctored and thrown into the airwaves in furtherance to their vile attempt to discredit the policy.
Nana Boakye further disclosed that the Youth Wing of the NPP can boldly state that Ex-President Mahama and the NDC if given another opportunity to lead this nation will deliberately collapse the free SHS policy and re-direct the funds into dubious contracts that will directly put money into their pockets than benefit the millions of Ghanaians.
“Former president Mahama on November 23, 2012 told the people of Okere in the Eastern Region that “Free SHS will collapse the education system of Ghana. He at UCC in 2016 said, ''The Free Senior High School by the NPP is a political gimmick. The Former Head of State at the NDC’s Tarkwa unity walk strongly rejected the Free SHS policy stating that it is unwise to implement it.” he stated.
Information gathered indicates that Former president Mahama on November 25, 2017 stated that “Lalasulala Free SHS will fail” likewise on his presidential primaries tour said to Akufo-Addo’s ''Free SHS is not working. Former president Mahama again on October 1, 2018 reiterated his aversion to Free SHS stating that it will undergo a review and hinted on the possibility of the policy being scrapped because to him it is unthinkable to spend 2 billion Ghana cedis in free SHS and that it is seriously constricting government’s budget. The then Minister of Education, Lee Ocran, on 10th September, 2012 said ''Free SHS can only be possible in 2032, in 20 years time.”
The National Youth Organiser further disclosed that the Member of Parliament for Bawku Central Mahama Ayariga, who on September 26, 2016, said ''Choose Mahama's education policy, it is better than Akufo-Addo's Free SHS.
“Hajia Joyce Zeinabu, then National Women Organizer of the NDC in 2016, November 20, had this to say, ''Free SHS will breed teenage pregnancies''. The General Secretary of the NDC, Mr. Johnson Asiedu Nketiah is on record to have said on October 1, 2018 that Free SHS is shambolic and that it will have to be scrapped. The National Chairman of the NDC, Elder Ofosu Ampofo also on 18th December, 2018 said “Double Track system is causing teenage pregnancy”. NDC MP for Adaklu, Kwame Agbodza, on June 19, 2018 said ''Over concentration on Free SHS stifling funds meant for flood prevention,'' he outlined.
Nana Boakye further revealed that Hon. Adam Mutawakilu, NDC MP for Damango said ''Blame the mysterious deaths at KUMACA to overcrowding as a result of Free SHS''.
Speaking on the Constitutional Provision, The National Youth Organiser said “It does appear that deliberately, former president Mahama, overtime, has been breaking his neck to hoodwink Ghanaians with the notion that Free SHS is a constitutionally mandated policy and not the idea of H.E. Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo for which the NPP must be commended for implementing same. The fallacy and intellectual poverty inherent in this line of argument does not only make Mr. Mahama look ridiculous but also demonstrates that the NDC as a party has been very wasteful and extremely disappointing in their performance when they were in power and for that matter should never be allowed, for even a day, to run this country.”
He mentioned that its been 28 years since the promulgation of the 1992 constitution out of which the NDC has had 16 years to govern this country.
“It is therefore humiliating that the NDC, albeit the more years they have had to rule this country than any other party, has failed woefully to implement the supposedly constitutionally mandated Free SHS policy. Is it not interesting that it has taken President Akufo-Addo less than one year to do what the NDC couldn’t do in 16 years. These two narratives points to one conclusion, that the NDC are bad managers of the economy and lack the requisite skills set and competence to accelerate sustainable economic growth and development whilst the NPP exudes the competence to put on a spurt massive life-saving and transformational pro-poor policies for enhanced living standards and shared prosperity,” he stated.
Addressing the media on Double Track System, he highlighted that the NDC have sought to bastardize the Double Track System due to their lack of understanding on how it operates.
“Government introduced the double-track system following the commencement of the Free Senior High School policy as a temporal measure to contain the overwhelming number of students amidst limited infrastructure. Statistics from the Ministry of Education indicate that in 2017 and 2018 alone, about 270,000 Ghanaian Children who but for the timely intervention of Free SHS would have been thrown out unto the streets, have been enrolled into the various senior high schools across the country. What the Government sought to do with the Double Track System was to bring closure to the age-long narrative where pupils who qualify and are willing to access Senior High School are denied because of limited space,” Nana Boakye noted.
Further checks reveal that it is important to underscore that the Double Track System has not only allowed for the maximum use of infrastructure but has reduced class size and increased contact hours.
“This arrangement, in no doubt, will lead to an increase in the quality of our SHS education, culminating into the churning out of an army of smart and intelligent young SHS graduates to help in the building of a great country. It is on this premise that the astute and respected Ghanaian educationist, entrepreneur and Founder of ASHESI University, Mr. Patrick Awuah commended the government stating that “the double-track system is a cleaver idea” and that the “idea has the potential of not only helping Ghana really solve the problem of access, but become a model for the rest of the continent”.
Modern Ghana is learning that however, as characteristic of Former President Mahama and the NDC to have been persistent in their dishonest conduct of criticizing the Double Track System without providing alternative ideas. The open ridicule and deliberate distortions of the facts by the NDC relative to the Double Track System only reaffirm the belief of many Ghanaians that the NDC lacks the requisite knowledge and competence to contribute to nation building. To prove their worth, former president Mahama and the NDC should, with alacrity, disclose to Ghanaians their alternative comprehensive and detailed plan for Free SHS. The irresponsible name-calling and careless use of semantics like “review” as their action plan only exposes the poverty in their understanding of the policy and uncertainty about what they intend to do about the policy.
“For the former President Mahama to say in his speech he will assemble all stakeholders to provide him with solutions on the Free SHS policy demonstrates clearly he does not have any meaningful contribution to the free SHS policy, but he is only desperate to associate himself with the success chocked by the policy,” Nana Boakye revealed.
Explaining the unprecedented infrastructure projects in some Senior High Schools (SHSs), he disclosed that the Youth wing is happy to report to the youth of Ghana that the well calculated attempt by the government to expand access to senior high schools and eliminate the Double Track system is yielding positive results as new projects have reached final stages of completion.
He said, “At least some 804 facilities which started in 2017 under the Senior High School Intervention Projects (SHSIPs) are expected to be ready for use by the start of the 2019/2020 academic year.”
It is believed that the projects consist of the construction of new classroom, administration and dormitory blocks, as well as assembly halls, science laboratories and toilet facilities. This massive infrastructure expansion in existing SHSs delivered in a short period is unprecedented. You would recall that the NDC said it will take 20 years to put up such massive infrastructure projects to permit the implementation of the Free SHS policy.
“It is therefore refreshing to underscore that, within 3 years President Akufo-Addo has achieved what would have taken Mr. Mahama and the NDC 20 years to realize,” he stressed.
On the provision of Learning Materials, the National Youth Organiser mentioned that for the first time in 10years, learning materials like core textbooks, supplementary readers, uniforms, house-cloths, house-dress, technical drawing equipment, PE kits, notebooks and exercise books were supplied for free.
On Jobs on the Wheels of Free SHS, he said “In 2018, a total of 8,000 additional Teachers were employed to take care of the additional number of students resulting from the successful implementation of the Free SHS Policy. This recruitment is independent of the regular recruitments that have been done by government since 2017 that have resulted in the posting of over 59,000 newly recruited teachers. The NDC has no shame that by virtue of Free SHS, several thousands of young people who were unemployed for years due to the bad economic management of the incompetent and corrupt Mahama government are now gainfully employed.
Modern Ghana is that the new policy is motivating many teachers to enhance performance. Until the assumption office by HE Nana Addo Dan0kwah Akufo-Addo, pupils in SHS were billed an amount of money as Teacher Motivation fee. This arrangement largely brought undue financial burden to parents and much inconveniences to students who defaulted in payment as they were made to leave class and sometimes examination halls.
Nana Boateng said “We have picked up intelligence about a grand scheme being orchestrated by the NDC to run down the Free SHS Policy and other smart educational policies being implemented by the Ministry of Education and Ghana Education Service (GES). We are reliably informed that in the coming days, a group of retired educationists and members of the academia as well as former leaders of Teacher Unions with allegiance to the NDC would be part of the sinister game, which is to be coordinated by some known opposition politicians.”
He cautioned the general public is admonished to be on the lookout for such unpatriotic and callous members of the society and as they have done in time past, treat their acts with utmost contempt.
“We entreat Ghanaians to remain steadfast in their support to government on the many policies being implemented. A critical analysis of the utterances of former President Mahama and other NDC functionaries relative to the Free SHS policy and double track system gives an obvious conclusion that they have been confused and bereft of ideas since they were in charge of government for 8 years to date,” he recalled.
The National Youth Organiser further stated that the party is informed by reliable sources close to the NDC that Mr. Mahama had to be compelled to backtrack on his decade hostilities against the policy.
“They have failed in their diverse plots to dishonestly demonize the Free SHS policy for Ghanaians to be demoralized about same. Free SHS will heavily influence voters in deciding on which party to vote for in the upcoming 2020 general elections judging from the massive numbers of young people who turnout to register in the just ended EC’s Limited Registration Exercise,” he said.
The National Youth Organiser of the ruling New Patriotic Party, Henry Nana Boakye challenged Ghanaians, especially the Youth to never trust Former President Mahama to sustain the implementation of the Free SHS policy.
“We are aware that Mr. Mahama and the NDC canceled Teacher Trainees and Nursing Trainees allowances. Some newly trained health professionals for over 4 years have been let off the hook. The massive endorsement from religious and traditional leaders and the testimonies about the Free SHS policy from parents and well-meaning Ghanaians, provide enough grounds for Ghanaians to vote for the NPP to prevent the NDC from destroying these transformative and progressive policies in future,” Nana Boakye stated.
The National Youth Organiser lauded the President, HE Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo, the Minister of Education, Hon. Dr. Mathew Opoku Prempeh and his team for their visionary leadership that in September, 2019, over 1.2 million Ghanaians access second cycle education, free of charge.