The General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Johnson Asiedu Nketia, has reiterated the umbrella family’s position of strengthening the free Senior High School Education policy being implemented by the governing New Patriotic Party under President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
According to him, the NDC government under John Dramani Mahama will bring an end to the Double-Track system which has seen students attend classes in Green and Gold Tracks within 90 days if given the mandate to govern the country again.
The Akatamansonians, he added, have no intention of abrogating the fee-free Senior High School policy as being speculated by their political opponents in government and some media houses.
“We were building more E-Block Schools and as we continue to commission them, all the students that enroll in those facilities were enjoying free education. As at the time we were leaving office, we had awarded 123 E-Block Schools under contract and we had completed 50 of them. So the remaining 73 were at various stages of completion. So, the 200 that we promised to build, we completed 50 and as we speak today, those facilities are operational and the remaining 73 are at various stages of completion. Most of them were even above 70% completion. So, if Mahama [flagbearer of the NDC] says that if he comes back to power within 90 days he will review the Free SHS policy to bring an end to the double-track system, it is doable and very easy. It is easy for NDC to complete the next batch of schools like 100 to complement the existing schools and there will be no need for that multiple track. We will not go and look for land to build new schools. We will complete existing ones”, he noted.
The NDC Chief Scribe known in the political circles as ‘General Mosquito’ made this observation when interacting with Kwaku Owusu Agyei on Anopa Kasapa on Accra-based Kasapa 102.5 FM, Wednesday.
Mr. Nketia was rebutting some media reports that had quoted John Dramani Mahama as having said that he would review and cancel the free SHS policy when the NDC wins the 2020 general elections.
He said the implementation of the Free SHS policy with its attendant challenges which ushered in the Double-Track system has brought so much burden on parents some of whom he added, had to rent rooms for their children in nearby communities where their wards were placed at very exorbitant rates.
He believes that the governing NPP did not think through the Free SHS policy very well before implementing, stressing that if the government meant well, it would have completed all the E-Block Schools initiated by the John Dramani Mahama administration to get enough space to accommodate all the students.
“The NDC upon assuming power in 2009, the Kufuor-led administration had earlier announced that Senior High School was going to be four years and not three years. And so after assuming office, we knew that by September of that year when all the schools had re-opened and all those students were going to stay for one more year, we asked ourselves that how are we going to accommodate the new students coming from the Junior High Schools? We were faced with this problem and then we declared a programme that we have to provide extra classrooms in all the secondary schools to accommodate the first-year students. The numbers involved at that time was far higher than the existing students but we managed it. Did you hear that we faced any challenge?” he quizzed.
He added “So the NPP is now faced with poor planning and they should admit it. If somebody has come up to say that let me ascend the seat of government and manage it well for we’ve done it before and you are there making noise, is it right? All that the NDC is doing is to achieve the best for the country and not mere political points as being assumed by the NPP”.