General News of 2014-02-27

Free SHS not a whimsical political promise - Kwakye Ofosu

A Deputy Information and Media Relations Minister, Felix Kwakye Ofosu, has discounted claims that the introduction of a progressively free Senior High School (SHS) by government is a political gimmick.
He said the free SHS policy by government unlike what was proposed by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in 2012, is not a “whimsical political promise”.
Kwakye Ofosu noted that as a people-centered government, they are committed to providing quality, accessible and affordable secondary education as enshrined in the Constitution.
The NPP has accused government of ‘stealing’ its flagship policy after President John Mahama in his State of the Nation Address to Parliament, Tuesday, announced the introduction of a progressively free SHS education for day students in 2015.
The governing National Democratic Congress (NDC), which advocated for quality and access instead of free SHS in 2012, now says it is putting in place a road map towards a roll out of the free SHS education policy.
The policy estimated to cost Ghc71 million will be funded by the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GetFund).
As part of improving access, President Mahama in his address said he would cut the sod for the construction of 50 community based SHS schools on March 3, 2014.
But the NPP maintained that the Mahama-led administration plagiarized its flagship policy just to retain power ahead of the 2016 general elections.
In a riposte, Felix Kwakye Ofosu on Asempa FM’s Ekosii Sen programme Wednesday, said the NPP cannot claim intellectual property when the policy itself is a constitutional provision.
He explained that Article 25 clause 1B of the 1992 Constitution enjoins every government to implement a progressively free secondary education, therefore, the NPP cannot claim credit for it.
Additionally, Mr. Kwakye Ofosu indicated that the ultimate responsibility of the Mahama-led administration is to make education accessible to all and not to throw dust into the eyes of Ghanaians just for votes.
The Deputy Information Minister noted that government has addressed the issue of quality in terms of teaching and learning materials, citing the distribution of about 12.5 million textbooks to basic schools by the Education Ministry in 2013, as well as the equitable distribution of teachers across the country to corroborate his claims.
Based on this backdrop, Mr. Kwakye Ofosu said juxtaposing the NPP’s free SHS to what government is about to implement is a misnomer.
He maintained that the NPP’s free SHS policy championed by its 2012 presidential candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo, was not “realistic [because] it was a whimsical promise for electoral purposes”.
On his part, the NPP Member of Parliament for Ayawaso-West Wuogon, Emmanuel Kwabena Agyarko expressed joy at government’s admission that the free SHS is a workable policy.
According to him, it vindicates Nana Akufo-Addo and exposes the hypocrisy and the vile propaganda of the NDC.
Kwabena Agyarko, though skeptical about government’s ability to implement the policy, pledged his support to ensure majority of children of school going age have access to education.
Source: myjoyonline.com
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