Deputy Education Minister, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum, says former President John Mahama’s proposal to review the free Senior High School policy lacks merit.
According to the deputy minister in charge of Basic and Secondary Education, the pronouncements by Mr. Mahama, who is seeking another opportunity to run for president, demonstrate a dearth of knowledge in the education sector.
“In other jurisdiction, presidential candidates have advisory team...that team then gather ideas. They do focus group discussions. They present him with a set of data and facts as to what [the candidate] needs to do when he becomes the President,” Dr. Adutwum said Tuesday on Good Evening Ghana, a current affairs programme on Metro TV.
Mr. Mahama said recently that he will review the free education policy by Nana Akufo-Addo’s government if elected President in December 2020.
The former President told party supporters at Cape Coast North constituency in the Central Region during a tour ahead of his party's presidential primaries that the policy is ill-timed.
“I was labelled a liar by my opponents, who went on to state that Free SHS could only be possible in 20 years time,” Mr. Mahama said about the policy that was launched in September 2017.
Backing his criticism of the education policy with teething challenges that government says have been occasioned by the huge enrollment numbers, former President Mahama said the policy is struggling because the current government failed to assemble experts and stakeholders for a national conference on education to deliberate on the policy.
Former President Mahama then said the best way forward is to hold a stakeholder conference and collate views of a wide spectrum of Ghanaians on the policy.
Speaking on Good Evening Ghana, Dr. Adutwum said Mr. Mahama’s proposal cannot be taken seriously.
“I like John Mahama very much...I have nothing but admiration for him. He is a funny guy and so I like people who are kinda funny and are not too strict. But on this score, he is wrong, and he is wrong and he is wrong."
“…if you tell me ‘when I become President I am going to consult all Ghanaians and collate all their views’...No, they voted for you because you’ve got something and they want you to [implement it],” Dr. Adutwum said.
He added: “He can always review a number of things, but the way he is putting it. If he said what the media have quoted him to have said...that the trimester system is more efficient...President Mahama, how do you deal with the number of students who are now in school when you bring the three-term system? Where are you going to accommodate them?”
Review not collapse
Meanwhile, the campaign spokesperson of John Mahama has hit back at President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for suggesting a future NDC government will collapse the free SHS education policy.
On the contrary, James Agyenim Boateng, says a John Mahama government in 2021 will conduct a comprehensive stakeholders’ review of the policy, which would improve the policy and not collapse it.
He was responding to President Akufo-Addo who over the weekend mocked the NDC, describing it as a party with a track record of collapsing policies initiated by the NPP.