The Integrated Social Development Center (ISODEC) may be well-intentioned in its admonishment to the Government of the need to have thoroughly thought through its otherwise laudable decision to implement the fee-free Senior High School policy initiative, but it is also quizzically clear that such pretense to constructive criticism has suspicious undertones of the sly pursuit of the rearguard tactic of the National Democratic Congress’ agenda of dastardly inducing and midwifing the problem, and then smirkingly turning around and self-righteously and pontifically behaving as if it has absolutely nothing to do with the issue at stake.
In its criticism of the Akufo-Addo-led government of the New Patriotic Party’s all-too-progressive attempt to ensure that every able-bodied youth capable of meaningfully availing her-/himself of a Senior High School education promptly gets to do just that, Dr. Steve Manteaw, the ISODEC Coordinator, makes the patently false claim that the previous National Democratic Congress’ regime, in power for some 8 protracted years, had studiously been about the progressive and godly business of providing physical plant resources or school-building facilities for the exponential expansion of public school enrollment in the country.
To be certain, it was not until the then main Opposition Leader, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, made a serious national issue out of the need for the central Government to provide equal and fee-free access to all able-bodied children of school-going age that the Mahama-led government of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) made an afterthought decision out of the imperative need to expanding the physical-plant space for the successful implementation of a fee-free Senior High School public educational system. All the while, the former President had adamantly maintained an elitist posture towards the practical possibility of implementing a fee-free Senior High School policy agenda.
This, of course, is diametrically in opposition to the official ideological stance of the National Democratic Congress’ populist political establishment in favor of social equity or equal access at all levels of national endeavor. But, of course, only the most inexperienced and pathologically naïve adult Ghanaians and, perhaps, fanatics of the NDC have been fooled by the unconscionably elitist Social Darwinian policy stance and praxis of the key NDC operatives. We must also pointedly underscore the fact that President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo inherited an emergency crisis situation from the Mahama government that does not readily admit of the luxury of the sort of snail-paced consultative culture that both the former President and the ISODEC Coordinator appear to so much relish.
Which is also why among his first public statements was Nana Akufo-Addo’s blunt and forthright assertion that he was a man in a hurry, having had his presidential ambitions deliberately and systematically stalled and/or sabotaged by hostile forces both inside the then opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) and their allies across the aisle in the Mahama-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) for nearly a decade. You see, the Double-Track public education system has become imperative because for more than two decades the Rawlings-led Provisional / National Democratic Congress (P/NDC) concentrated its policy agenda on the stockpiling of small arms to facilitate its perennial political entrenchment to the detriment of the wholistic upgrade of infrastructural facilities and the general development of the country, from the critical sector of healthcare, industry, science and technology and, you guessed right, education.
I perfectly agree with those civil society leaders and even political opposition leaders calling for the publication of the blueprint of the Double-Track SHS system. But that should have to wait until the Government and its policy wonks and advisers have fully satisfied themselves with the feasibility of the program. I am also miffed by the pontifical calls by some of the leaders of such teachers’ unions as NAGRAT and GNAT for consultation and deliberation on this admittedly most urgent matter. Miffed because the leaders of these educators’ unions have for decades selfishly concerned themselves with their own parochial conditions of service to the detriment of the need to equally fight for equal opportunities and free access to basic and secondary education for our children and grandchildren.
*Visit my blog at: kwameokoampaahoofe.wordpress.com Ghanaffairs
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
English Department, SUNY-Nassau