Former President John Dramani Mahama has called for a stakeholders’ conference to address challenges associated with the implementation of the Free Senior High School (SHS) policy.
He said the current implementation, if not properly handled, could derail the entire purpose of the Free SHS programme.
“It will do the government good if we have a stakeholders’ conference and agree on the pace of implementation to free funds for other important projects like the ‘One District, One Factory’ and the ‘One Village, One Dam’ programmes,” he said.
He accused the government of pushing all available resources into funding the Free SHS programme to the extent that government now had no funds for the District Assemblies’ Common Fund, National Health Insurance Scheme, GETFUND and other statutory payments.
Former President Mahama said the strategy adopted in the implementation of the Free SHS programme had raised issues of inadequate dormitories to house the students, classrooms, textbooks, laboratories, dining halls and other facilities for effective teaching and learning.
The former President made these statements when he addressed party faithful at the sixth National Democratic Congress (NDC) unity walk, at Somanya in the Eastern Region.
The 16km walk started from Kpong Junction, through the principal streets of Agormenya, Odumase and ended at the Somanya lorry park.
The walk drew thousands of party faithful across the length and breadth of the Eastern Region, as well as some leading members of the party.
He said his comments on the Free SHS policy were not from a partisan angle, but rather in the interest of the programme and the country.
Former President Mahama explained that the NDC strongly agree with the Free SHS concept, but disagrees on its implementation strategy.
He called for the review of the strategy for implementation to give the opportunity to families that could afford to pay for their wards, while students from homes that cannot afford to pay are given bursaries, to ensure long-term sustainability of the programme.