General News of Fri, 24 Nov 201745

‘NDC could scrap Free SHS’, protect it – Raymond Atuguba

A Senior Law lecturer at the University of Ghana Law School, Dr. Raymond Atuguba, has suggested that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) could scrap the Free Senior High School Programme should they win any subsequent election.

He has therefore called on the current New Patriotic Party (NPP) government to ensure that legislation is passed to prevent the policy from being cancelled or altered should a new party come into office.

“Let’s say that if NDC [National Democratic Congress] wins 2020 or 2024, you know they can cancel free SHS, you know that? What sense will that make? But right now without a binding national development plan, they can do that.

With a binding national development plan, once you put in the plan that every government must work progressively towards free SHS, then no government can [scrap the policy],” Dr. Atuguba said at a constitution review conference at Dodowa today [Friday], on retooling the constitution from political to a developmental one.

According to him, with a law in place protecting the Free SHS policy, it will be difficult for any government to revise it as “a citizen can go to the supreme court and stop them.”

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Politicizing education

This isn’t the first time there have been concerns about the possible politicisation of policies in the educational sector.

The NPP administration, under President John Kufuor, introduced the four-year Senior High School programme in 2007.

However, the NDC reverted to the 3-year system after it regained power in 2009.

However, the Akufo-Addo government has indicated it is considering extending the length of secondary education to four years again.

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The Minister of Planning, Professor Gyan Baffour, in September 2017, said the government was monitoring the three-year SHS system to inform a possible review back to four years.

The implementation of the Free SHS policy has also come under fire from members of the opposition who have pointed at the challenges faced by the government as a sign that the programme was ill-fated.

The Minority Leader in Parliament, Haruna Iddrisu said: “It is manifested gargantuan failure and our concerns are that we will not sit down for him to jeopardize our youngsters and the future of our country.”

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