…..Free SHS (Part 1) Revealed!
It is interesting that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government’s official launch of the flagship Free Senior High School (FSHS) program had not been done at the Kwabenya SHS, which the ruling party’s MP for Dome/Kwabenya, Sarah Adjoa Safo, recently claimed to have personally lobbied the World Bank to get constructed.
All the fanfare, amidst the emblazonments of a logo that many see as totally unnecessary, had taken place at the West African Secondary School (WASS), which was established in 1946 at Tudu in Accra, during the colonial era.
Even as the absence of an offshore Ambassador for the policy at the launch, coupled with the unavailability of a policy blueprint made the ceremony a bit awkward, the venue for the launch of the policy was also seen as inconsistent, given that President Nana Akufo-Addo displayed self sufficient messianic airs over Free SHS there.
Since the President had minded to pose as, “a messiah who has come to free Ghana from the troubles that the poisonous National Democratic Congress (NDC) government had afflicted on the country,” it is said that it would have been more befitting if Nana had launched his flagship policy in a school built by an NPP government.
For obvious reasons, however, the President had to settle on WASS.
But an obvious attempt to ensure that the ceremony was not held in one of the 124 new Senior High Schools that President John Mahama had used his tenure to build was not fully achieved because even though President Mahama did not build WASS, his political tradition, the (P)NDC, relocated it to its current location.
After the PNDC regime had moved WASS from Tudu to Adentan in 1986, the government had also better resourced it.
And launching Free SHS at WASS was not the only ironical thing about President Akufo-Addo’s rollout of the program – he and his party, the NPP, do not have to their credit, a single Senior High School in Ghana’s endowment of secondary schools. NPP cannot boast of a single Senior High School it has built.
All the secondary schools in Ghana are the fruits of the two NDC regimes led by President Rawlings and Presidents Atta Mills and John Mahama, respectively, and pre 4th Republican regimes, including the Nkrumah, Acheampong and the British colonial regimes. The NPP government, which has already had eight years under President Kufuor, did not leave a heritage of even a single Senior High School.
Under NPP1, it is private Senior High Schools that had flourished with as many as 102 private secondary schools springing up. NPP1’s achievement in public sector secondary education mainly includes a change of the name for that level of education from “Secondary School” to “Senior High School.”
The Kufuor regime had also selected 56 existing Senior High Schools to be developed into so-called “model schools” with intent to establish a model school in all 170 districts of the country.
In 2012, when the NPP’s poor track record in the area of secondary education became an issue, the party attempted to counter their lack of achievement in the area by claiming the Kufuor government had built 21 SHSs, but nobody really knows where these schools are located in the country.
With NPP2, led by President Akufo-Addo, having been in office for just nine months, it is a statement of the obvious to point out that this government has not built any Senior High School, even as it is not clear if it has any intent to build any.
Therefore, it has been pointed out that if President Akufo-Addo can afford to roll out FSHS today, it is because the infrastructure has been built by others – predecessors, who he ought to have acknowledged.
Prominent among the predecessors who did the heavy lifting to clear the way for Free SHS is President John Dramani Mahama. Acting on a 2012 campaign pledged to build extra 200 Senior High Schools around the country to pave the way for the rollout of FSHS, which he had begun piloting in 2014, President Mahama had built 124 of the 200 by the time he was leaving office in 2016.
One of those new SHS, the Kwabenya Senior High School, is what the NPP’s MP for Dome-Kwabenya, Sarah Adjoa Safo, recently claimed to have personally lobbied to get it constructed. Her claims have since fallen flat in the face of the facts.
The same President Mahama, as Vice to President John Evans Atta Mills, had been in the thick of a policy by the Mills regime to eliminate schools under trees.
In 2010, just a year after the NDC had come to power in January 2009, the Mills/Mahama government had commissioned a survey into schools under trees and realized that there were a total of 4,210 of them.
With this, a policy to eliminate them was commenced and even though President Mills had passed on in July 2012, President Mahama had continued the policy so that by November 2016, 1,700 of the schools under trees had been replaced with proper modern schools.
The government’s policy target was to totally eliminate all schools under trees by 2020, but lost the 2016 elections to the NPP.
And so, when President Akufo-Addo was launching the Free SHS policy at WASS on September 12, 2017, it was expected that he would acknowledge the efforts that his predecessors, especially President Mahama, had made to set the stage for him. President Akufo-Addo, in this regard had a good example from the late President Mills, who had invited his predecessor, President Kufuor, to inaugurate the N1 Highway because President Kufuor had started its construction before the NPP had left office.
However, characteristically, President Akufo-Addo, who has demonstrated clearly that he is totally given to not giving credit where it is due, refused to give the necessary acknowledgment.
This is the same Akufo-Addo, who cut the sod for the Ekumfi Pineapple factory last month to officially launch his ‘One district, One factory’ policy, even though President Mahama had cut the sod for the same factory in 2013.
Again, President Akufo-Addo has claimed that the rollout of the National ID card by the National Identification Authority (NIA) is an achievement of his campaign promise, even though the ID card project had been started by the NDC government.
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/Fiifi Samuels