Information Minister Mustapha Hamid has slammed the Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta for publicly expressing his opinion on the implementation of the free SHS policy.
According to Hamid, the Finance Minister has no locus to talk about educational issues, adding that his opinion on the controversial matter is “dead” and must be ignored.
Mr. Ofori Atta in an interview with Accra based Citi TV said following the numerous challenges that has bedeviled the Free SHS policy, government must withdraw from making it free for all and allow wealthy parents and guardians who can afford to fully fund the education of their children.
“True, it may be that there have to be changes in the way we are administering it. I can’t take my child to Achimota or Odorgono and leave him or her there and drive away and not pay for anything while I can pay for ten people.
“We need to begin to get the data to then be discriminatory in how and who pays and who doesn’t pay,” Mr. Ofori Atta said.
But addressing a question asked by a journalist during a joint ministerial lecture on the double track system at the Northern Regional Coordinating Council, Mr. Hamid encouraged the public to ignore Mr. Ofori Atta’s opinion on the matter.
“Mr Adutwum, I don’t even think we should belabour the point,” the Information Minister intruded while the deputy Minister of Education, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum was responding to the question about the finance minister’s comment.
Mr. Hamid continued, “You don’t need to belabour the point…the person whose vision we are driving is the vision of the president of the Republic of Ghana and the president of the Republic of Ghana’s vision is that every child who goes to secondary should go the secondary for free.
“The Finance Minister’s opinion does not stand in the face of the president’s vision. It’s not going to happen. The Finance minister doesn’t have a locus. His opinion is dead…it is not even in his bosom to bring an educational matter to cabinet. It is only the education minister who can, so he can only go and lobby the education minister to come to parliament and there is no cabinet decision that must go contrary to the NPP manifesto, finished.”
Mr. Hamid stated that government’s stance on the Free Senior High School programme as contained in the 2016 manifesto of the party still remained unchanged and insisted the programme “truly and really” means free secondary school for all qualified Ghanaian children.
“If we go into another election and we want to revise the manifesto that’s another matter but now the 2016 manifesto says that we are implementing free senior high school for rich children and for poor children and that is what it shall be.”
Earlier, the deputy education minister gave a power point lecture about the basic concept of the double track system and its relevance to sustaining the Free Senior High Education Programme.
According to him, the double track system presents a good opportunity for more people to acquire education and said he was excited about the new system.