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Opinions Fri, 7 Dec 2012

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Free SHS will ensure justice for all

FREE SHS WILL ENSURE GROWTH AND JUSTICE FOR ALL

Shrewd and crafty politicians can design to make truth seem lies when they wish

to make an opponent’s manifesto not feasible economically. What really galls

the equation is men known for their dishonour and corruption are shamelessly

lying through their teeth to disparage an enterprise that is important for the

growth of the nation. Even as Nana Akkufo Addo is mooting the idea of fee-free

SHS, we also know that SHS education in Ghana has historically been the

opportunity for the rich and constant struggle for the

have-not.

The growth of a country depends on the level of education. Education reduces

poverty and stimulates economic growth, and no country has achieved rapid

economic growth without investing in education. Every advanced country has free

SHS education and Ghana as rapidly developing country would need all her

resources (brain) for economic growth and prosperity. Free SHS is vital for

every child; this is what the Americans call “no child left behind”. With the

no child left behind policy as introduced by former President George Bush’s

government, even children of illegal immigrants have chance of free SHS

education and the future beneficiary is the country. For the purpose of this

article I’ll use China as the model of free SHS.

Modern education laid a foundation for prosperity of China. China has set up a

modern education system with government as the major investor so that every

person is allowed to gain knowledge legally. In the past China had the Imperial

Exam system where smart students go ahead to colleges/universities while the

others ended up on the field but since the government made Jnr and SHS

compulsory in 1975 where all citizens must attend school for at least nine

years, the country has seen tremendous improvement in their economy and their world

status. The government provides primary education for six to nine years, starting

at age six or seven, followed by six years of secondary education for ages 12 to

18. In the higher level of studies, the Chinese government introduced series of

measures, to prevent students from dropping out from education, the incentives

included scholarships, subsidies, student loans and tuition fee reduction, hence

the present growth and prosperity.

In Ghana basic education was free during the imperial system where people

completed the Standard 4 middle school certificate at the age 16 or 17. Many

senior citizens with standard 4 certificate still working are doing good job

regardless of its short comings. The American system of education which is the

present system of education in the country phased out the old imperial system

which was community and government funded. The new system begins from JSS at

age 13-15, then 15-18 for SHS. The JSS is free but SHS requires the financial

support of wards. Therefore those whose parents are not financially sound to

continue on to SHS are permanently sidelined to the lower doldrums to face the

buffets of hard life. A number of factors

come into the equation when we talk about education

Early basic education as I have fore mentioned was open to all but soon after

the introduction of the SHS education changed from a resource for everyone, to

a resource provided based on wallet. SHS level of education as practiced in

Countries like the United States, UK, Canada, Germany, etc is free and sundry

for all as it plays one of the most important roles in life of school children

in establishing and polishing their intellectuality and personality. In

Britain State-run schools and colleges are financed through national taxation,

and take pupils free of charge between the ages of 3 and 18. This makes Nana

Addo’s free SHS education laudable as it includes every

Ghanaian.

I hope as Ghanaians vote on Friday they will see this fact and reject the lies

and preposterous description of Fee-Free SHS as inferior. This is being peddled

around by selfish and unpatriotic people just for political gains. Most of the

opponents of free SHS are rich people, they have their children in

International Schools (In Ghana) or in the Western world enjoying free SHS

education but the plight of the poor is not their concern. In September this

year, I had to help out my friend to pay the school fees of his daughter who

was entering SHS, I know the stress he went through. To your surprise this

friend is a manager, he has 2 children in SHS and 2 children in university.

The opponents of SHS know free SHS is vital for every Ghanaian child but if

they accept

the truth it might as well be fatal to their campaign and therefore have depended

on lies till this last hour of decision.

In conclusion, I’m imploring all to vote wisely so that needy children can get

the chance to apply themselves and reach as far as their potential will lead

them. Free SHS Education will help our Children to explore their capabilities

and will equip them to face the obstacles and hardships ahead of them. May God

bless you all, peace and no fighting.

Kwadwo Nyantakyi Akosomo

Columnist: Akosomo, Kwadwo Nyantakyi

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