Free SHS Is Not A Widow: Mahama Should Stay Away From It!

The flag-bearer of the opposition National Democratic Congress, John Dramani Mahama seems to have fallen heedlessly in love with Akufo-Addo's Free Senior High School in a way that threatens the very survival of the pro-poor policy.

Mahama, since time immemorial, has been an ardent critic of the policy. Even when it was propounded and it was in its embryonic state, John Mahama and his NDC heavily lampooned the policy.

Amongst other dishearteningly stale propaganda messages they poured into the system were that it was unrealistic, it could only be implemented in 20 years, it was a scam, etc.

The then President Mahama, at an IEA-organized political debate emphasized that Ghanaians should ignore Akufo-Addo with his dreamy free education gimmick and that it was just to win elections.

The NDC candidate, the inference drawn from his series of negative attacks on the proposed policy told Ghanaians that it was akin to an impossible love affair, a marriage between a goat and a sheep.

The opposition party commissioned some researchers to go round the country to identify what idea or policy will be the game-changer in the next elections. It is the Free Senior High School policy, he has been told and advised accordingly. That knowledge brought a paradigm shift in his position to a seemingly favourable but pretentious endorsement of the policy.

Mahama, in his latest crusade, says he will review the Free Senior High School policy if Ghanaians elect him as President in 2020. That review, he emphasized, would be done 90 days into his administration.

Giving details of how the review would be done, the NDC leader said that he would engage stakeholders to come up with ideas to better the policy.

First of all, for someone who has always been antipathetic towards the policy, any form of review would lead to the collapse of the policy.

Though it has been just three years, Free SHS has been able to admit about 1.2 million Ghanaian children in schools, a figure far higher than when Mahama was in office and implementing his so-called access and quality education system.

A policy is subjected to a review if challenges are identified. The review, before it is done, should have in its fold all the solutions required to deal with the identified issues.

Per what Mahama is saying, he has no solution to any of the challenges he claims to have seen with the policy. It is simple, the policy needs no review as he seems to suggest.

Assuming without admitting that there are teething challenges that need to be addressed, what makes him think that 90 days can be used to solve them? He doesn't appear to have an idea about the extent of the so-called challenges he babbles about, and this makes his 90-day period a bit puzzling if not moot.

A candidate seeking to unseat a President must come up with alternative ideas but not to romance with the very policies his opponent has rolled out already.

The Double Track that is in session will fade away with time. Nobody or no government can phase it away in 90 days and expect the policy to thrive. It would go downhill instantly.

What is critical and ought to guide Mahama and his team of misguided surrogates and supporters is the fact that Free SHS has its father in Akufo-Addo, it has its mother in Akufo-Addo and so does not need another parent. Free SHS has not been orphaned to require another parent.

Free SHS has not been widowed to warrant Mahama taking charge of it simply because President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is alive, hale and hearty! Mahama should keep himself at bay when it comes to this legacy of His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

P.K.Sarpong, Whispers from the Corridors of the Thinking Place.

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