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Together let us enjoy president Mahama’s quality education (Part II)

Fri, 19 Sep 2014 Source: Abdul-Fatawu, Fuseini

This year’s WASSCE and BECE results like the previous ones under the NDC administration have further exposed the rot in our educational set-up. Education as we are all aware was the key issue in the 2012 elections. Whilst the NPP under the leadership of Nana Addo was promising free SHS education, the NDC under the leadership of President Mahama and its propaganda outfit cast doubt on its feasibility and sound nature and called it “419”/ “Azaa”. The ultimate aim of the President Mahama led NDC campaign machinery in 2012 was not to provide quality education as they claimed but rather to deceive and hoodwink Ghanaians to reject the sound and cost effective free SHS policy of Nana Addo and the NPP. They made it seem as if the NPP’s free SHS has no quality or to say, NPP doesn’t prioritize quality education. This they have done not for the good of Ghana but rather to desperately hang on to power which they have really achieved (questionably) and are now ruling us all.

The NDC during one of their propagandist setting the records straight press forums had this to say on education; “NPPs belief that the biggest problem facing the educational sector in Ghana today is the cost of second cycle education shows the complete lack of understanding by the NPP. Any elementary analysis of the educational situation in Ghana will reveal that the most critical factor facing the sector is Access to Quality education. Cost of education is important but is not the number one consideration.

Has the NPP bothered to know why so many parents in Ghana are willing to do everything possible to move their children out of relatively inexpensive basic schools into very expensive schools? The reason is because those parents know that about 99% of the pupils who gain entrance into the top 52 Senior High Schools in Ghana come from relatively more expensive private basic schools. And those parents also know that entrance into those top 52 schools enhances the chances of progression of their children to the tertiary level. So to these many parents, their number one priority is for their children to gain access to schools that have quality education even if it means they have to pay more. And we are not talking about just rich parents but parents who will ordinarily have preferred relatively cheaper public schools but are more than willing to sacrifice all they have to secure the educational future of their children by paying more for access to quality education…

The NDC, unlike the NPP, does not believe in putting the cart before the horse. The NDC understands that the when the foundations are solid then an enduring educational superstructure can be built. And this competent view of the NDC is in alignment with the wisdom of the framers of our Constitution which stipulates that everything must be done to implement a Free Universal Basic Education within 10 years after coming into force of the constitution…

So the NDCs position is that by 2016, we shall ensure that basic education is completely free for all, as the Constitution mandates. Ahead of that, the NDC plans to continue to review the Capitation Grant to keep pace with cost levels. NDCs strategy therefore is to adequately channel resources into this critical root of the educational tree with a view to consolidating education at the basic levels.

The NDC, unlike the NPP, possesses the foresight to know that when education at any level is made completely free, it brings in its wake increased numbers in enrollment which necessitates not just expanded infrastructure but also increased need for teachers. So unlike the NPP that does not factor these additional costs into its cost of Free SHS, the NDC makes adequate plans ahead. So to cater for the increased demand for teachers when FCUBE is fully implemented, NDC plans to increase admissions to existing Teacher Training Colleges and also establish at least 10 new Colleges of Education in the medium term to be located in areas not well served currently to deal with the shortfall in the number of teachers at the basic level. Additionally there is also a plan for a one year specialised skills training programme for teachers interested in early childhood development will also be pursued.”…

During that same forum under the theme, “Strategy for Reducing Cost At the Secondary Level”, the NDC propagandist outfit had this to say, “The NDC believes that education at the secondary and tertiary levels must progressively be made more affordable subject to availability of resources. The NDC believes that it's possible to reduce the burden on parents for students at the secondary level in a manner that does not compromise quality and does not squeeze resources that could be invested at the basic level to comply with the provisions of our constitution at the basic level.”

In an attempt to reduce the burden on parents for students at the secondary level without compromising the quality of education, the President Mahama led NDC administration astronomically increased the fees for freshers at the secondary level from GH¢415 last year to GH¢668.50 this year. This is how the story was captured by the Daily Graphic of September 6, 2014, “The Ghana Education Service (GES) has released the approved fees for the 2014/2015 academic year for students in all government-assisted senior high and technical schools (SHSs). Fresh students in boarding houses will pay GH¢668.50 each, while their day counterparts will be paying GH¢355.50.

The amount include GH¢175 for school uniform and clothing for both boarding and day students, approved teaching and learning support fees and Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) levies.

For continuing students, fees approved payable per term is GH¢385 for boarding students and GH¢73 for day students.

A letter signed by the acting Director-General of the GES, Mr Charles Y. Aheto-Tsega, and addressed to all heads of senior high/technical schools, however, stated that foreign students were required to pay a tuition fee of GH¢1,000 per term.

The letter, which has been made available to the Daily Graphic, said in addition to the tuition fees, foreign students were required to pay other charges that were applicable such as boarding fees and approved PTA levies.

The letter explained that the GES had also approved a PTA levy of GH¢35, which included development levy of GH¢10 and utilities of GH¢5 for boarding students and GH¢3 for day students...”

In fact the fees that my humble-self paid per year for my four years university education including that of my accommodation under the NPP was not up to any of the above amounts. With this astronomical rise in fees at the secondary level without talking about the gargantuan increases at the tertiary level with little government support, it will be prudent to listen to the Fiifi Kweteys and Black Stars weeping Elvis Afriyie Ankrah setting the records straight once again and juxtapose it with the reality and hardships in Ghana today. This is what the NDC ‘caring’ government had to say in 2012, “…the NDC is also conscious that there will still remain many parents who will take a while to earn the levels of income that will enable them fully pay for the higher education of their wards. So to cater for this, NDC being a caring social democratic party, proposed to standardize fees at the secondary level and to increase subsidies and bursaries especially for deprived families…

Ladies and gentlemen, time will not allow for us to conclude the superiority Of NDCs educational platform by proving how vastly more compassionate to the needs of the poor and vulnerable our position is. A position which pushes for better conditions for deprived people by eliminating schools under trees, eliminating the shift system, building 200 new community secondary schools in districts without them, distributing millions of school uniforms and exercise books to the needy, expand the school feeding program in a way to cater more for more needy communities etc.”(STATEMENT: NDC's Quality Education Vrs NPP's Azaa 419 Free SHS Education

Submitted by Awudu Sannie on Wed, 24/10/2012 - 23:29)

One wonders whether parents especially those in the three northern regions can afford such care and quality from a caring social democratic party. Had there not been massive failures at both WASSCE and BECE and the WASSCE results not being reflective of the fees paid, much would not have been complained by parents because that’s what they have been deceived to vote for.

So now, in a year when there is unprecedented hardships and sufferings, subsidies on fuel and fertilisers taken away, a president saying Ghanaians are cynical and have extremely short memories and equally promising not to listen to anyone (yentie obiara), one wonders how this unfortunate situation deliberately imposed on us by the President Mahama led NDC can be resolved in the immediate short run. The supposed quality is now an illusion and Ghanaians especially the poor parents in the three northern regions are crying for the lack of concern and care from their own brother. Till we change for a better government led by Nana Addo-Bawumia come 2017 In Sha Allah, let us all enjoy and party for the ‘quality’ education we voted for…

I shall In Sha Allah be back…

Fuseini Abdul-Fatawu


A NPP Polling Station Executive and Acting Secretary of Young Patriots in the Sissalaland

Columnist: Abdul-Fatawu, Fuseini