The flagbearer for the opposition NDC, John Dramani Mahama says contrary to opinions that he will scrap the Free Senior High School policy introduced by the governing NPP when voted into power; the policy has come to stay.
Clarifying his stance, the former President said he is not against the policy but against the implementation process which he claims has caused parents, students, and teachers great inconvenience.
“Free Senior High School education has come to stay. If anybody tells you that I, John Dramani Mahama, will abolish Free SHS when I come into power tell the person he is a bloody liar,” he said while paying a courtesy call on the Overlord of Dagbon, Ya-Na Abukari II. The Free SHS, introduced in September 2017, meant that the fees of every child in Ghana, who gained admission to a public Senior High School, will be absorbed by the government.
It also meant free tuition, admission, textbooks, library fees, science centre fees, fees for ICT, examination fees, utility fees, boarding, and meals. This, the government believed, will remove any cost barrier that prevents students from achieving their educational goals.
The policy, however, has not been spared from challenges. The increased rate of admissions cased a shortage of infrastructure in some schools with students allegedly forced to sleep on mattresses on the floor. Subsequently, government introduced a double-track system to alleviate the living challenges. Students were divided into two tracks, gold and green, and took turns going to school.
The development, which saw the gold track in school and green at home and vice versa periodically, was widely criticized by many Ghanaians and civil society groups. However, the former president says his government can better handle the policy and its implementation.
John Mahama explained that the Akufo-Addo government would have had fewer challenges with the policy had they continued with the E-Block schools the NDC was constructing when in power, to accommodate students.