Former President John Dramani Mahama says claims by Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia that he is against the Free SHS policy are false.
According to him, he has never been against the Free SHS policy but only has a problem with its implementation.
Mahama said for someone who implemented Progressively Free SHS for over 350,000 students, he cannot be said to be against free SHS.
A statement from the former president’s office challenged the Vice President to provide evidence of him ever saying he is against free SHS.
“[The] free SHS must be made better instead of the ad-hoc implementation we are witnessing under the Akufo-Addo administration.”
Addressing some NPP youth at Kwahu in the Eastern Region last Saturday, Dr. Bawumia claimed that Mahama previously stated that “Free SHS was not possible.”
However, Mahama described the statement as “yet another propaganda churned out by Vice President.”
“This is false. Dr. Bawumia knows very well, in his heart, that he is not telling the truth and for that matter, he is misrepresenting the views of the former President.
“Mr. Mahama has never been against free SHS and nowhere has he ever said free SHS is a bad policy,” the statement added.
Read the full statement below:
John Mahama remains committed to a better Free SHS programme
We have noted yet another propaganda churned out by Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia to the effect that HE John Dramani Mahama, the Flagbearer and Leader of the NDC is against free Senior High School (SHS) education.
This is false. Dr. Bawumia knows very well, in his heart, that he is not telling the truth and for that matter, he is misrepresenting the views of the former President.
Mr. Mahama has never been against free SHS and nowhere has he ever said free SHS is a bad policy. Certainly, the President who implemented Progressively Free SHS for over 350,000 students cannot be said to be against free SHS. We challenge Dr. Bawumia to provide evidence of the former President ever saying he is against free SHS.
Mr. Mahama, just like all well-meaning Ghanaians, believes free SHS must be made better instead of the ad-hoc implementation we are witnessing under the Akufo-Addo administration.
For example, presently the ‘Double Track System’, which keeps some students at home while others are in school studying remains a major worry to students, parents and many Ghanaians who care about the future of the youth of Ghana.
In addition, the fate of SHS students when they graduate remains a major concern to many Ghanaians including students, parents, lecturers, Vice Chancellors among others. Even President Akufo-Addo, himself, has admitted to the “challenges” and has only asked Ghanaians to see beyond the “challenges” because every programme has “challenges”.
Over and above the President, the Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta has also had cause to speak to the challenges of the programme. Will Dr. Bawumia by any stretch of his imagination, suggest that both President Akufo-Addo and Mr. Ken Ofori Atta are “kicking against” the free SHS programme?
For emphasis, nowhere has former President Mahama ever said he will abandon the free SHS programme. He has been very consistent in his belief that the surest way to sustain the programme requires:
§ A wider national stakeholder consultation because wisdom does not reside in the heads of a few;
§ Immediate and urgent abolishing of the Double Track System;
§ Structured, new and additional application of funds at all levels of education;
§ Rapid completion of the remaining Community Day Senior High Schools he initiated;
§ Integrated and coherent planning of education at all levels; and
§ Aggressive teacher motivation programmes and infrastructure development among others.
To this end, we wish to underscore the fact that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) record on all-inclusive education does not suggest that we will ever be against any policy that promotes all-inclusiveness in education. We initiated FCUBE, set up the
GETFund despite numerous contentions from our opponents began the progressively free education policy among others. As a result, the GETFund has been the singular most effective influence on educational expansion and progress in Ghana. Sadly, for the first time in our history, the future of the GETFund has been collateralised due to misuse and abuse by the present government.
Additionally, the fact that John Mahama has added more to the infrastructure stock of Senior High Schools than any other government aside Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah is not in dispute. He provided all these infrastructures and several significant educational deliverables without mortgaging the GETFund as this government has done.
Therefore, we wish to advice Dr. Bawumia that subjecting free SHS to emotionally charged tribal discussions and sentiments will amount to bigotry. Hence, he must remain civil, circumspect, sensitive and utter words befitting of his new position as Vice President.
As leaders, it is important that we do not fall for the emotionally charged pressure to be virulent without cause, and even if the Vice President chooses to reduce Ghana’s political discourse to such invective bigotry, let him at least try to be truthful.
His Excellency John Dramani Mahama remains committed to free SHS. He will make it better and secure the future of the youth of Ghana.
Joyce Bawah Mogtari