Stop the hypocrisy and double standards; be clear on reviewing Free SHS – John Mahama to NPP

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The flagbearer of the opposition National Democratic Congress, John Dramani Mahama, has accused the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) of double standards in the ongoing debate over the review of the Free Senior High School Policy.

The governing NPP has consistently rejected calls for a review of the free SHS programme introduced in 2017.

Speaking at the Ghana National Association of Private Schools week launch under the theme, “2024 Elections: The Private Education Manifesto” on Wednesday, Mr. Mahama criticized the NPP government for promising to review and rationalize the policy in a document submitted to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) yet presenting a different narrative to Ghanaians.

John Mahama pointed out the contradiction in the NPP government’s stance, highlighting that they promised to review and rationalize the policy in a document submitted to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

He emphasized that the NPP presented a different narrative to Ghanaians than what was outlined in their agreement with the IMF.

“There’s hypocrisy in this thing about review. If you look at the IMF agreement that this government has signed with IMF, under point 47 page 76. This Akufo-Addo-Bawumia government signed an agreement with the IMF in January 2024. And they say that in the educational sector, we will review and rationalize the free SHS. These are their words, not my words.”

“And so when you hear all this politics about my understanding of the review means to abolish, in their own words they are using review. Sometimes you must watch our politics.  I encourage all of you to get the Eduwatch report and read it, and it’s about, especially the free SHS. It says that between 2021 to date, over 196,000 children did not take up their place in the free SHS. Even though they were posted and qualified, they didn’t go. We need to find out why they didn’t go.

“The report says that the total amount of money the government has spent on free SHS, comes to about 5.8 billion Cedis. The proportion of the parents is about 77% to the government’s share of about 23%. That is why we must do a review.”

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Angel Carbonu, the President of the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), is advocating for dialogue to address issues in the free Senior High School (SHS) policy.

He called for a sustainable solution to the problems in the educational sector, particularly the free SHS program.

In an interview on The Point of View on Citi TV, he expressed, “There’s a need for a conversation for us to be able to iron out some rough edges of the free Senior High School concept. That to me is an introduction to a conversation, and we need to latch on it and see how we can expand the horizons of that conversation, because that conversation needs to be had. It is very important that we have that conversation.”

“Public business schools are on a downward trend seriously, and we need to look at that and we also need to look at bursaries for tertiary institutions. We are calling for a conversation of stakeholders brought together facilitated by very well-informed intelligent facilitators. So that we can find a solution to the problems of education in this country.”

He pointed out that various unions in the educational sector have submitted their proposals to political parties for inclusion in their manifestos.

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“The unions have sent their proposals to the various political parties, so that they can incorporate that into their manifestoes. This time, we don’t want people to come and stand on platforms and make flowery promises; promises have to be based on what is contained in the various manifestos of the various political parties,” he told host Bernard Avle.

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