A former National Organiser of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr Kofi Adams is alleging that the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) government under the leadership of President Akufo-Addo has refused to print out new textbooks for senior high schools.
Mr Adams who was speaking on Inside Politics on Radio XYZ 93.1 Wednesday said the situation is affecting teaching and learning activities in various senior high schools which are facing other challenges.
“Since the NDC left power, this [Akufo-Addo] government has not printed out new textbooks for the senior high schools so students do not get the required textbooks to facilitate their learning,” Mr Adams told host Mugabe Maase.
His reaction comes at a time the free senior high school policy implemented by the current government has been criticised by the NDC following its numerous challenges that have led to the ‘double track’ system.
But Mr Adams said not only does the free SHS policy lack the basic infrastructure that has resulted in the double track but various essential teaching and learning materials which include textbooks.
Under the John Mahama administration, a total of 12.8 million core textbooks, 2.5 million dictionaries were procured and distributed to schools.
According to former Education Minister, Prof. Naana Jane Opoku Agyemang, 472,800 teachers’ notebooks, 653,700 class attendance registers and 4,994,328 boxes of white chalk and 180,000 boxes of coloured chalk were also distributed to schools.
Free SHS Challenges Worrying
Member of Parliament (MP) for Builsa South, Dr Clement Apaak who was also a panel member on Inside politics sent a strong signal to the government to deal with the many challenges facing the Free SHS policy.
Asking the Vice President, Dr Mahamadu Bawumia, to focus on addressing the numerous challenges facing the programme than to “lie” about former President John Mahama, Dr Apaak expressed worry over the policy and disclosed that stakeholders are fed up with how the policy runs across the country.
“I am a rural MP and I know what I’m saying,” the former University of Ghana lecturer noted. “Old folks in my constituencies are complaining. They say this thing [double track] is not helping at all. And these are the people who are uneducated. They say the double track has not helped at all.”
The academic mentioned that his constituents had been raising serious concerns on how the free SHS had negatively affected their children since the introduction of the double track system.
He asked, “What is the point when it is supposed to be free and the parents have to pay for extra classes for their kids when they are vacation?” and continued that parents had complained about the long vacation period for the double track pupils.
“Because the parents can’t pay for the classes [when the kids are home] they engage in all kind of bad things,” he added and mentioned that the teenagers have resorted to excessive betting and the abuse of tramadol.
His comment comes on the back of Dr Bawumia’s backlash on former president John Mahama over his recent remark on the policy.
The Vice President who was speaking at a rally in Kwahu in the Eastern Region last weekend heavily criticised Mr Mahama saying, “I hear somebody says that we are spending too much on free SHS… That we are spending too much on free SHS so we won’t have money to do other things… “I am from the North and I benefited from the free SHS and I think it is good for the people from the North and the entire country. There will be no room for hypocrisy on this matter… the NPP does not want to listen to the NDC who tell us free SHS is not good and saying other bad things with regards to the policies of the NPP’’.
But reacting to the remark, Dr Clement Apaak expressed surprise at the posture of the Vice President, stressing that former president John Mahama had “not said anywhere that he would collapse the free SHS.”
He said the assertions of Dr Bawumia were “against the realities of the ground” because the free shs was indeed facing challenges which he claimed the President, Nana Akufo-Addo and Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Ata had attested to.
“I don’t know why he [Dr Bawumia] will come and attack the former president…when free SHS issues are mentioned they [NPP leaders] feel jittery…Mr Mahama only said he would review the policy. And reviewing policy isn’t bad,” The MP said and questioned, “Has this government not reviewed almost everything that happened under the previous government including contracts?”
Dr Apaak further urged Ghanaians not to believe the “propaganda of the NPP” clarifying that the opposition NDC is not against the free SHS but its deficiencies that is marring the policy.