Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Hon. A.S.K Bagbin, has rapped on an uncomfortable truth that government would have been happy to see covered with the outpouring of grief over the passing of former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan.
He has pointed out that the passing of the celebrated Ghanaian diplomat has been an anti-climax that the current government of Ghana must be ashamed of because Mr. Annan died at a time that the country is re-introducing the shift system at its Senior High Schools.
“When the late President Mills ended the Shift System, Mr. Kofi Annan was one of the people who applauded the loudest. The ending of that system was a source of great joy to him because he knew how it impacted negatively on education.
“It is therefore very shameful that just when he is passing to glory, we are busily preparing to re-introduce the same Shift System,” Hon. Bagbin said in an exclusive interview in Accra.
According to him, the development is a parting gift to Mr. Annan that Ghanaians cannot be proud of.
The New Patriotic Party government led by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is fervently preparing to start the implementation of a so called multi track system at the Senior High School level, which is nothing but a glorified description of the Shift System.
Under the system, some students will go to school for a limited number of time in the year and then stay home for others to have their turn.
With many observers skeptical about government’s claim that the system is good, an obviously overwhelmed government is now saying that to make up for lost contact hours with teachers, the government will organize extra classes in churches for some of the students.
“The whole mess is coming about because this government refused to listen to advise before rushing to start the implementation of the so called free SHS. How can you implement a program as serious as Free SHS without piloting it?” Hon. Bagbin who is aspiring to be the 2020 flagbearer of the NDC said.
He recalled that when former President Mills ended the Shift System, the achievement was a source of great joy to many well wishers of Ghana, especially the late former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, whom Hon. Bagbin had enlisted to be a member of the Board of Trustees of an educational advocacy organization, “Thank Teacher Foundation”. The late Mr. Annan who had graciously agreed to be a member of the Board of Trustees was to serve together with former President Jerry Rawlings, the Asantehene, Otumfuor Osei Tutu ll and the Agbogbomefia of the Asogli State, Togbe Afede.
Hon. Alfred Oko Vanderpuije, the Member of Parliament for Ablekuma South, who was then the Mayor of Accra, has since revealed that Mr. Kofi Annan called him personally to express joy over the ending of the Shift System by President Mills.
Hon Bagbin, who is also the MP for Nadowli-Kaleo said for Mr. Kofi Annan to be returning to his maker just at the time that Ghana is reintroducing the Shift System, is an anticlimax that nobody can be proud of.
He urged the Akufo-Addo government to stop being adamant and hold a national dialogue on the way forward for Free SHS, so that the country as a collective can take a bold step towards salvaging the education of its future leaders.