…As signed-face of flagship educational policy pursues a dream to speak like an American
The backward implementation of the Akufo-Addo government’s flagship education policy, Free Senior High School, keeps betraying itself as a comedy of errors.
After the government had launched a logo for the program without implementation manual or blueprint, the signed-on Ambassador for Free SHS is schooling offshore, while his role is apparently taken on by local characters.
In place of Abraham Atta of “Beast of No Nation” fame, it is slapstick Kumawood comedian, Agya Koo, and retired actor, Fred Amugi, who are advertising FSHS on Ghana’s TV screens.
Agya Koo and Amugi have starred in the Twi and English versions of the FSHS adverts respectively, ironically at a time that the signed-on off-shore Ambassador is busily pursuing a dream to acquire an American accent.
Master Abe Atta, Ghana’s official Face of FSHS, recently granted an interview in which he revealed that his most pressing desire at the moment is to speak like an American. It is not clear if his lingo role model is late gangsta rapper, Tupac Shakhur.
The anticlockwise situation, where the official face of Ghana’s Free SHS is schooling offshore with an inferiority complex that makes him believe an American accent is a status symbol, while local actors have been moved in to take up his role, only magnifies the incompetence that the Minister of Education has betrayed in the implementation of the government’s flagship educational policy.
In a rash implementation of FSHS, Dr. Mathew Opoku Prempeh had not piloted it, leading to a lot of avoidable problems. Among others, the Computer Selection process has run into its worst problems in 11 years of implementation due to a rush rollout of FSHS.
In its avoidability, it is common knowledge that the best thing for the NPP government to do was to have started off from where the predecessor NDC government had implemented progressively Free SHS up to.
However, a populist attempt by the NPP government to take all credit for FSHS saw the government brush aside the progress report from the implementation by their predecessors and rush to relaunch FSHS all over again.
In the end, the NPP’s FSHS has been an ass-backward implementation in which the program has no implementation manual nor blueprint, but a logo and an offshore ambassador.
The program was also not piloted.
Meanwhile, as local actors fill in for FSHS’ offshore ambassador, who is aiming to speak like Tupac, questions have emerged about how much public cash the government is paying Agya Koo and Fred Amugi to advertise the program.
When Dr. Mathew Opoku Prempeh, Education Minister, signed on Abraham Atta as FSHS Ambassador, local protest about the inappropriateness of having a wannabe American as the face of Ghana’s secondary education had been met with cheeky explanations.
Dr. Opoku Prempeh had told everybody that Abraham Atta had been given the role because he had offered to do it pro bono.
As we find out from Master Atta’s concentration on his own dreams in the USA, that free things are not really good, it has been realized that, unlike Abraham Atta, nobody has said that Agya Koo and Fred Amugi are also helping for free.
Agyakoo is said to charge between Ghc10,000 and Ghc15,000 per advert. That of Fred Amugi is not known.
But if the NPP government has paid any of these two actors even a pesewa, then it means that the earlier claim that the Ambassadorial role for Free SHS was to be free was really a sham.
Tongues are also wagging that Agya Koo, a polling agent for the ruling NPP in the 2016 elections, got the job to substitute Abraham Atta as FSHS Ambassador because of his political connection to the NPP. Fred Amugi is also said to be a supporter of NPP.
Recently, Abeiku Aggrey Santana, a popular presenter of Accra-based Oky FM, was replaced by Agya Koo as Ghana’s Tourism Ambassador.
A list of 30 Ambassadors that Tourism Minister, Catherine Afeku, recently unveiled includes Lucky Mensah, the musician with a price tag on his conscience who has sold his support for the NPP after complaining of not getting money from the NDC, to which he had had his allegiance for sometime.
Others are known NPP campaigners – Sarkodie, who attacked President Mahama with his music, Yvonne Nelson who mounted the ‘dumsor’ campaigns against President Mahama and deadwood musician, Nana Ampadu, who mounted campaign platforms to canvass votes for Akufo-Addo in 2016.
Others are Daddy Lumba, a man who loves belting campaign songs for Akufo-Addo and Kaakyire Kwame Appiah, an out-of- fashion musician.
Interestingly, Ghana’s most popular actors at the moment, Lil Win and Maame Serwaa are not named as Ambassadors. Also, most popular musicians of the moment, Stonebwoy and Shatta Wale, have been left out.