General News of Sun, 26 Nov 201753
Akufo-Addo stings NDC over Free SHS collapse prediction
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has taunted the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) describing members as “politically motivated propagandists and naysayers” whose “demagoguery and opportunism will always be exposed”.
His comment was a direct reaction to the Minority in Parliament’s prediction that Senior High School (SHS) education in Ghana will collapse in five years if the challenges plaguing the Free SHS policy are not fixed.
The NDC has vehemently criticized the Akufo-Addo government’s flagship policy from its conception to its introduction as they postulate that it is a hoax.
Prior to the presentation of the 2018 budget statement, the NDC had argued that the policy is not sustainable as there is no guaranteed funding to support its implementation.
The government, in the 2018 budget statement, allocated an amount of GHc1 billion for the free SHS programme. The amount is three times higher than the GH¢400 million that was allocated to the programme in its first year of implementation in 2017.
Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, while presenting the budget statement to Parliament said government is also in the process of setting up a fund to receive voluntary contributions from individuals to support the implementation of the policy.
Contributing to a debate on the floor of Parliament, former Deputy Education Minister, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, described the government’s budgetary allocation for Free SHS as woefully inadequate, adding that the challenges bedeviling SHS education under the policy are overwhelming and will cripple the schools soon.
Responding to the prediction in a Facebook post, President Akufo-Addo reiterated his commitment to seeing the policy succeed despite the challenges facing it and took a swipe at the NDC for being doomsayers.
“The politically motivated propagandists and naysayers, who, in the last few years, said that Free SHS was not possible, and could happen only after 20 years, are now singing a new tune. They now claim Free SHS is not sustainable, and will crash in 5 years. Let me burst their bubble again.
"Free SHS is here to stay, because leadership is about choices, and I have no doubt that the overwhelming majority of Ghanaians support the choice that I have made. They recognise the importance of the investment we are making in the youth and in the future of our country. The investment will be sustained.
“I continue to be puzzled as to the vehemence with which so-called social democrats oppose or attempt to undermine measures designed to address poverty. Their demagoguery and opportunism will always be exposed,” his post read.
Meanwhile, the President has announced that contracts will soon be awarded for the provision of 69,500 single desks and 13,100 bunk beds to Senior High Schools across the country.
This move, according to him, is expected to address the furniture deficit in a number of schools as part of his administration’s commitment to dealing with the challenges in the implementation of the Free Senior High School policy.