The Founder of the Action People’s Party [APC] Dr. Hassan Ayariga, has called on the NPP Government to find better ways to resolve the challenges bedeviling the free Senior High School [SHS] programme.
Dr. Ayariga also called on the Akufo-Addo led government to be bold enough to scrap the policy if it finds it difficult to finance and implement the policy effectively.
The APC founder made these assertions during an interaction with a cross section of the media at his party’s office in Accra on Wednesday when he was reacting to the 2018 budget read by the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Attah, last week.
He added that no one is against the free SHS policy which he added if well planned and implemented would go a long way in helping student and reducing burdens on parents in the country.
“But the question is are we ready for the policy now,” he asked adding that the policy was rushed by the NPP government just to score political points without proper plan on its pros and cons.
“We don’t need to implement policies because we want to win votes or score political points but we must implement policies because they are prudent and sustainable for the benefit of all,” he said.
Mr. Ayariga added that there is going to be massive challenges ahead for the free SHS policy since there are not enough tertiary institutions to accommodate all these students when they come out of the SHS in few years’ time
The sufferings of the free SHS program which ranges from lack of proper dormitories for students, lack of proper class rooms for effective teaching and learning which has compelled school authorities to convert toilets and under trees as dormitories and class rooms respectively is unacceptable
He is of the opinion that the recent announcement by government of creation of a voluntary fund for willing individuals and bodies to donate and finance the free SHS policy as a sham and a clear indication that the NPP is struggling to finance its maiden flagship program.
The government needs to focus on how best to resolve the issues surrounding the free SHS program instead of focusing on other things which will further deepen the woes of the students and school authorities thereby making the project unsuccessful.
The government according to him should be bold to admit its maiden flagship policy which is not covering about 60% of the total SHS population has failed woefully. ‘’ Either take urgent measures to salvage the problem or swallow your pride and scrap it ‘’.
The education sector he noted saw 11% increase in its allocation but the increment in its payment of compensation and of goods and services far outweigh its capital expenditures. This will affect the infrastructural developments such as schools and dormitories and other logistics.
The advent of the free SHS , Dr. Ayariga observed has come along with an increase in the student intake hence any deficit in infrastructural development will render the policy a larger failure in the near future.
On job creation, he pointed out that the best way to create employment opportunities for graduates is to expand the nation’s economy by investing heavily infrastructure where he cited both Kenya and America for taking that step of investing hugely in infrastructure to create jobs for their citizens.
The NPP government upon their massive borrowing could not boast of even a single classroom block let alone construct a single consulting room, the APC Founder mentioned.
He also condemned and described the sacking of 205 public servants by the government from the National Service Scheme [NSS] and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority [DVLA], and other public institutions as unjustifiable dismissals.
On the current happenings in Zimbabwe which has led to the resignation of President Mugabe, Dr. Ayariga said Africa must practice limited democracy in which a sitting president cannot go beyond a limited term.
He said even though he admires Mugabe very much for been the only remaining true African who champions the cause of the continent to the outside world regardless of what the western world thinks, he should have left when the clapping was very loud.
Dr. Hassan Ayariga was quick to add that Zimbabwe will surely regret ousting Mr. Robert Mugabe as it has happened in other countries that had ousted their leaders through popular uprisings.