Nana Addo’s government should be strategic in implementing campaign promises

Sun, 31 Dec 2017 Source: Kofi Anokye

As much as I have absolute confidence in Nana Addo’s Government’s ability to deliver the campaign promises, I want to urge them to be strategic in their implementations otherwise the shortcoming will overshadow the good work they do The key word here is ‘strategic’ because when you have a good idea; all you need is an equally good strategy to make it see the light of day. Vision is nothing without a quality strategy.

Strategies are termed as the tools and techniques used to achieve goals and objectives. They are rarely in books but may be born out of wisdom or experience. It is therefore very difficult to get it right as compared to knowledge which may be found in books. Getting your strategies right therefore means realizing your vision or goals successfully.

Many prominent visionary leaders failed to see their dreams come true due to wrong choice of strategies in the implementation process. Our own great leader; Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah had his vision buried in the sand when he chose the wrong strategy to unite Africa.

The fact is that you can give several reasons and point accusing fingers towards anyone who you feel was a hindrance to your dream but that does not matter when your dream has failed. One of the natural law principle is that, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction to it and so to me as a leader, it is only normal that one’s goal should always be met with equal and opposite reaction and therefore your ability to achieve it regardless of the friction is what makes you a competent leader or the reverse of it.

Strategic thinkers are very scarce and so beholds on leaders to find them at every cost if they want to succeed. Unfortunately, many leaders become allergic to advice and collaboration with strategic brains once power has been secured. They see such persons as threat instead of an important asset to the cause. I know our current leader is a team player.

Unfortunately, he is surrendered by praise singers who do not seek his attention by telling him the truth. The problem in this country has always been the praise singers who always find themselves at the corridors of powers. These people prefer to say yes and say things that makes leaders excited that speak the truth as it is for the proper reaction.

As a citizen and in response to our president’s call to be citizens and not spectators, I want to call on government to be strategic in the implementation of his promises. In this piece, I am looking a the Free Senior High School Policy. From where I sit, the strategies are completely wrong and if care is not taken this wonderful idea will end up in a ditch.

Free SHS is a good policy that must be guarded, protected and managed for the unborn generation to benefit from it. As a developing nation with serious economic challenges, we need to spend circumspectly to avoid leaving other sectors unattended to. . The number one complain of this government has been that the previous government left a lot of debt with empty coffers. From all indication, the majority of Ghanaians believe this allegation.

In view of this, waiting for at least a year to take into consideration possible congestion in the various schools when the program is implemented and the other issues would have helped in no small way. In view of the fact that the promise was to give kids Free SHS and the reality of our economy, there was no need adding boarding and feeding to the program as far as I am concerned. Boarding and feeding alone takes more than 60% the amount government pays per child. Why was boarding added in spite of the attending cost and the absence of requisite infrastructure to house majority of SHS students? The child will have to eat and sleep whether at school or at home anyway.

Adding free boarding school was an extra cost that could have been avoided because every Free Education is free enough as long as the direct cost of education is absorbed by government. I believe choosing a boarding school for your ward is a decision the parents must make and be ready to work for that.

Beyond the cost, not all the SHS have the boarding facility so in the interest of FAIRNESS alone; the government should not have taken that responsibility From where I sit, my Free SHS is about free tuition fee, free exercise books and free exams registration fee and passage of a law that makes SHS compulsory for every child and that should be enough. Parents in dying need of boarding school and without the means can apply for scholarships when the procedure is spelt out. Parents should always play key parts in their kids’ education even if it is for free.

With countless people capable and willing to pay the boarding fees, I’d have maintained the boarding fees to ensure that those who opt for boarding contribute money for the state to expand infrastructure and meet other needs. This is an equitable way of building an imbalance nation like ours where the gap between the rich and the poor keep widening.

You take from the rich and use it for the benefit of all. Many people would have opted for day school and effectively, the overcrowding of dormitories would have been avoided. Once the boarding fee is taken out, government could easily have engaged or partnered the private secondary school to charge students sent by government under Free SHS the same amount the public institutions charge so that instead of forcing heads to take more than their schools can accommodate, the excess student can be posted to private schools. In conclusion, free SHS is not about free boarding school.

It is about free school tuition fee, free registration fee, free exercise books and pens to write and that’s all. Save our boarding school system from collapsing because it is one of the most important legacies this nation has. Let those who want their wards to be in the boarding schools be prepared to foot the bill or apply for scholarship. Developing a nation is not only about the freebies.

Many other things including infrastructure and other areas of the human resource developments such hospitals, good roads, monies to support small industries to create the necessary employments, security and many more. The call for voluntary contribution to support the program is a clear indication that sustaining the program isn’t going to be easy. Nothing stops government from allotting a percentage of our TAXES to the program or instating new TAXES to sustain the program because without that, there’d not be readily available funding for this wonderful program.

I also believe that nothing stops government from reviewing the terms of the program and putting in place key factors ignored. Private secondary schools are on the verge of collapse, schools are overcrowded and kids are forced to learn under deplorable conditions while most of the private schools remain empty.. We can fix this Mr President.

Your vision for this nation will benefit posterity immensely if well implemented and so measures should be put in place to ensure that your predecessors are able to hold the program together.

Without proper strategies, this government will do a lot of great things that will die in future.

Free SHS has come to stay and will remain as long as it is implemented today with tomorrow in mind.

Long live free SHS;

long live Ghana as a whole

Columnist: Kofi Anokye
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