Former President John Mahama has said he has no intentions whatsoever of abolishing the free senior high school policy instituted by President Nana Akufo-Addo.
Speaking at the Dagbon Overlord’s palace during a courtesy call on the Ya Na as part of his campaign tours of the Northern Region, the flag bearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), said: “Free Senior High School education has come to stay”.
“If anybody tells you that I, John Dramani Mahama, son of E.A Mahama, will abolish Free SHS when I come, tell the person he is a bloody liar”, he insisted.
According to him, “What I am against is the poor implementation of the free SHS, which is creating great inconvenience for the parents, for the students and for the teachers and the point I have made is that we can make it better.”
“If this government had followed our plan of continuing with the 200 new Senior High Schools that we were building, we will not have the current situation that we have in our free SHS plan”, he said.
Also, Mr Mahama said final-year students sitting this year’s West African Secondary School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) are rioting because the Akufo-Addo government has politicised their education.
Even though he condemned the acts of vandalism and hooliganism on some campuses by students after sitting their first few WASSCE papers, Mr Mahama blamed it on the President’s branding of this first batch of free senior high school beneficiaries as ‘Akufo-Addo graduates’ during one of his national addresses on the COVID-19 situation.
“When you politicise our education system, this is what you will see”, Mr Mahama asserted.
“The candidates are not anyone’s candidates; they are our candidates”, he said.
“When students completed under President Rawlings, they were not ‘Rawlings candidates’; when they completed under President Kufuor, they were not ‘Kufour candidates’; when they completed under President Mills, they were not ‘Mills candidates’; when they completed under Mahama, they were not ‘Mahama candidates’,” the former President observed when he visited the Ya Na’s palace in the Northern Region to introduce himself as the flag bearer of the NDC.
Mr Mahama promised that his next government will ensure that students are well-prepared to pass their WASSCE as he did as President together with his then-Minister of Education, Prof Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, who is now his running mate.
In Mr Mahama’s view, the Akufo-Addo government has watered down the quality of Ghana’s education, especially at the second cycle level.