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Tuesday’s Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) marathon Presidential Debate, between the four political parties with representation in Parliament, afforded President John Dramani Mahama of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) and Flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Akufo-Addo, to engage each other in yet another biting exchange over the free Senior High School (SHS) education policy.
Whiles the NPP flag bearer reiterated his position of a free SHS policy, President Mahama noted that the foundation of education is weak and “an NDC government will rather concentrate and invest more at the basic level of the nation’s education; which is the foundation of our entire educational system.”
He explained to the audience that it was impossible to carry out the policy when it was crystal clear that several parts of the country lacked adequate infrastructure to support it.
President Mahama further pointed out that though the constitution enjoins all governments to make education progressively free, it does not lie in the “whimsical” promise of a party eager to win political power to make such pronouncements that cannot be achieved in the short term.
To him, Nana Addo was mounting the policy (free SHS) “on its head” and justified his comment with the following words.
“I am for making secondary education free but as I said, where you haven’t carried out your obligation to the ordinary people of this country and to the constitution…to say that your priority is to spend that money to make senior high school free when you still haven’t eliminated cost at the basic level…children are not able to have access even at the secondary level, infrastructure is not available for all children who qualify to go to school…that is a misplaced point and you(Nana Addo) are standing the whole process on its head,” President Mahama stated.
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