A group of pro–New Patriotic Party (NPP) lecturers at the Takoradi Technical University (TTU) has opined that recent pronouncements by former President John Dramani Mahama on the Free Senior High School programme are nothing but calculated lies coupled with political gimmicks and only aimed at throwing dust into the eyes of unsuspecting Ghanaians, all to woo them to vote for him and the NDC in the upcoming elections.
In an interview with 3news.com, Chairman of Patriotic Intellectuals (PI), Michael Asare Appiah, said he is bemused that the former President, who before his defeat in the 2016 general elections was consistent that the Free Senior High School will not succeed, has now made an interesting U-turn and making claims that “he introduced the programme and will review it because the Free Senior High School programme has come to stay”.
“I wonder how someone will seek to review something he does not believe in. You spoke against it, so clearly you don’t understand how the Free Senior High School programme works. So how then will you be able to review it if not to scrap it,” he questioned.
He asked: “What has changed that he is performing theatrics on the Free SHS programme. Is Free SHS no more a whimsical promise by a desperate politician to win political power or is he equally a desperate politician as he claimed President Akufo-Addo was in 2016?”
Listing a litany of stories on comments by the former President on the Free Senior High School, Asare Appiah stated that the PI is convinced that “a person with such level of indecisiveness must not be trusted in anything he promises as he does not believe in the Free SHS programme, and would wish it is cancelled.”
“In October 2012, the then President Mahama after the sudden demise of President Atta Mills said ‘Free SHS is bogus’ and the source is Daily Guide Network of Friday, 16 August 2019, on 23 November 2012, Mr. Mahama told the people of Okere that ‘Free SHS will collapse SHS education system and the source is www.peacefmonline.com of Friday, 16 August 2019. Mr. Mahama while addressing a gathering at University of Cape Coast (UCC) said ‘the Free Senior High by the NPP is a political gimmick and the source again is www.peacefmonline.com of Friday, 16 August 2019. Again in a response to the NPP’s idea to solicit for funds from the public to keep the Free SHS policy sustainable, Mr. Mahama is on record to have stated that Lalasulala Free SHS will fail. The source is Classfmonline.com of Saturday, 25 November 2017. Again, Mr. Mahama addressing NDC delegates at Nsuta Kwaman Beposo in the Ashanti Region while on campaign tour to be re-elected flagbearer of the NDC suggested that some of the money for Free SHS should go into investing in the productive sector to generate employment opportunities for graduates coming out of the Free SHS programme. The source is myjoyonline.com of 20 November 2018. On 24 February 2018. Mr. Mahama said that Free SHS’s implementation was rushed and it is constricting government’s budget and, therefore, needs to have a review. My source is Daily Guide Network of Friday, 16 August 2019. On 1 October 2018, Mr. Mahama repeated his aversion to Free SHS saying that it would undergo a review and hinted of the possibility of the policy being scrapped and my source is Daily Guide Network of Friday, 16 August 2019. Mr. Mahama also hinted that there will be changes to Free SHS within First 3 Months of his next Presidency and the source is GhanaWeb of Friday, 12 April 2019).”
He, therefore, entreated Ghanaians and eligible voters to “see through [Mahama’s] spurious and empty promises to continue something he has consistently opposed and not believe in anything he says about the Free SHS”.
2020 WASSCE results
Michael Asare Appiah boasted that an analysis of the results of the 2020 WASSCE shows that the percentage of candidates obtaining the Tertiary Education Qualifying Grades (TEQG), that is A1 to C6 in the core subjects, was one of the best in the last five years.
“The percentage of candidates making TEQG in English Language increased from 53.19% in 2016 to 57.34% in 2020. The percentage of candidates making TEQG in Mathematics increased from 32.28% in 2016 to more than double the number which is approximately 66% in 2020. The percentage of candidates making TEQG in Integrated Science increased from 48.48% in 2016 to 52.53% in 2020. The percentage of candidates making TEQG in Social Studies increased from 54.50% in 2016 to 64.30% in 2020.”
He continued: “The 2016 WASSCE results analysis indicate that less than half of the 247, 262 students who sat for the examination obtained the minimum grades to gain admission into tertiary institutions while half of the (approximately) 342, 500 who wrote the 2020 examination obtained the minimum grades to gain admission into tertiary institutions. In 2016, the Senior High School students did not write the WASSCE under any extreme physical and psychological circumstances, and without COVID-19 pandemic, but the students in 2020 wrote the examinations under extreme physical and psychological conditions due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, and yet came out with flying colours.”
He noted that based on the implementation of the flagship policy of Free SHS, the 2020 WASSCE results and other historic achievements within the past 4 years, it is only right that “H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the President of the Republic of Ghana is given another term of 4 years”.