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A 2008 audio tape has exposed the hypocrisy of President John Dramani Mahama with regards to the provision of free senior high school education, as espoused by the 2012 Presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party, for all school going children across the country.
Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo's free senior high school education policy, first stated in 2008, which intends to ensure every Ghanaian child has the opportunity of at least finishing senior high school without any impediment has been bastardised by President John Dramani Mahama and functionaries of the NDC.
Barely six days ago, President John Dramani Mahama stated that Nana Akufo-Addo's “free SHS will collapse Ghana’s education policy.” At other forums, the President has also stated that the access, and not affordability is the problem limiting entrance of Ghanaian children into Senior High Schools.
However, an interview granted by John Dramani Mahama to ASTA Fm, in the run up to the 2nd round of the 2008 general election, has revealed President Mahama’s hypocrisy.
In the interview, John Mahama is heard promising all parents that when the NDC is voted into office, it will deliver free secondary education for all Children, stating categorically that “the NDC has a free education policy at the secondary level.”
John Mahama promised that no day student attending a senior high school in Ghana was going to pay fees. He added that his administration will ensure that parents whose wards attended day secondary schools in the country will not pay fees as his government will absorb the cost of these fees.
John Mahama further added that “students in boarding schools will no longer pay utility bills.”
He continued that the NDC government was going to make sure that they engaged the heads of these institutions to ensure that feeding fees of students were reduced to ensure that free education at the secondary level become affordable for parents.”
Fast forward to 2012 and President John Mahama and his ruling National Democratic Congress have failed to honour this promise as parents continue to pay fees for their wards attending senior high schools.
Nana Akufo-Addo at the IEA encounter stated that “To ensure that no child is denied access to secondary education, we will remove the biggest obstacles that currently stand in their way: cost and access. In addition to tuition and other costs already borne by government, admission, library, computer, science centre and examination fees will all be free. So will boarding, feeding and entertainment fees, along with textbooks and utilities. In order to ensure equity, day students will also be fed at school free of charge. Free secondary school education will cover Technical and Vocational institutions.”
Below is the full transcript of the interview with John Mahama
“In the program that we are introducing, Professor Mills says that when we say free compulsory basic education, it means absolutely free. Do you understand? It means you would not pay anything. If you look the capitation grant, it is insufficient for the schools. So they take some fees from parents. You would hear that a child has been sent home for school fees. The Child is often to go and bring exams fees, sometimes it is sports fee, other times culture fees, PTA dues. Our arrangement is that when we say free it means free. When the NDC government comes into office, those little fees that the schools are still charging from students, we would sit down with school principals, the Ghana education service and compute all of them. We would increase the capitation grant. When you look at it right now it is three Ghana Cedis a year, that is thirty thousand Cedis a year. We would increase it and ensure that parents would pay nothing. This is at the basic level.
At the secondary level we have a free education policy for them as well. Let me explain. Free education policy at the secondary level is about community day secondary schools. Students who attend community day second schools are charged between two hundred thousand to three hundred thousand depending on the school you attend. We would remove that. The government will pay for all secondary schools. So when you go to the school and come back home, without sleeping at the school, you would pay no fees.
For boarding schools, we have the students paying electricity and water bills. These are classified as utility fees. We would remove these utility fees. Government would pick up the cost. This would bring down the fees payable by parents. We would also meet the principals of these schools to ensure that we bring down these feeding fees so that the cost of secondary education would go down.”
Source: NPP Communications Directorate
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