FORMER President John Dramani Mahama has revealed his deep contempt for government’s flagship programme – Free Senior High School (SHS) – which is aimed at reducing the number of children that drop out of school annually.
Mr. Mahama, who ended his presidential term 22 months ago, derided the Akufo-Addo government for introducing what he described as a “green-gold traffic” secondary school education. He is embarking on a campaign to be elected as the flagbearer of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) at the Sekyere Afram Plains Constituency of the Ashanti Region.
He believes the double-track system of the Free SHS policy has inflicted ‘savage repression’ on parents by putting them under undue pressure to raise additional money to pay for remedial classes for their children.
Addressing delegates and supporters of the NDC in the constituency, Mr. Mahama wondered why SHS students are now being made to spend 41 days in the classroom under the new arrangement.
According to him, the double-track system of the free SHS has the potential to derail academic work of students, and stressed his decision to review it if NDC is voted back to power in the 2020 general elections.
The former president said part of the solution to address the double-track system would be the construction of new dormitories, classroom blocks, and the completion of all the 200 community day school buildings started by his government.
Education at the secondary school level is now free courtesy President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who made it a campaign promise. For him, the programme is a necessary investment in the future workforce of the nation.
Ghana introduced free compulsory education at the primary and junior high school levels in 1995 as required by the 1992 Constitution, but it took the Kufuor administration to resource the schools through the introduction of capitation grant.
From Ernest Kofi Adu, Kumasi
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