Free SHS is vision impossible; Nkrumah would have done it- Education Minister


Lee OcranFree SHS is vision impossible; Nkrumah would have done it- Education Minister

10 September 2012

The Minister of Education says the opposition New Patriotic Party is building castles in the air with its promise of a free Senior High School education.




Lee Ocran insists the policy would have been implemented a long time ago by Ghana’s first president Dr Kwame Nkrumah if the policy was achievable.

The NPP flagbearer Nana Akufo-Addo has been trumpeting a free SHS education if voted for in the 2012 elections.

At the evening encounter with IEA last month, Nana Addo provided some figures for the implementation of the free SHS policy.

“The additional cost of providing Free Senior High School will be around 1% of Ghana’s GDP. The cost of providing free secondary school education, which includes tuition, boarding, feeding and all the other charges for the 2013-2014 academic year, is estimated at 0.1% of our GDP. This translates into some GH¢78 million,” he stated.

On his numerous ‘Restore Hope’ tour around the Greater Accra Region, the NPP flag-bearer did not miss the opportunity to drum home the policy and to assure prospective voters of his non-negotiable stance on the free education policy.

But the ruling party in equal measure has been vociferous in describing the policy as an empty talk from a desperate politician.

On Monday Education Minister Lee Ocran capped the criticisms of the policy, declaring that Free SHS is a vision impossible, at least for now.

Shortly after addressing a press conference on the matter, the sector Minister told Joy News’ Dzifa Bampoh, the NPP can neither be taken serious on this promise, nor can they be trusted.

He said the same party made unrealistic promises to construct railway lines from Accra to the North; transform zongos into well developed residential facilities and for eight years, they failed to honour all of those promises.

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According to him, Nana Addo even failed to get the arithmetic right on the policy, insisting, it will rather take 1.2 billion cedis to implement the policy in its first year and not the 78 million cedis Nana Addo is pontificating.

“Children won’t sit on trees,” during the implementation of the SHS. “They need classrooms.” First things must be done first,” he pointed out.

He said his government is concentrating on building more classrooms and other community schools in order to increase access to education.

He believes free SHS can only be implemented in the next 20 years.

But the Director of Communications for the NPP, Nana Akomea in a reaction said free education can and shall be done next year.

He said politics is about choices and the NPP has chosen to implement free SHS if voted into power. Nana Akomea said the Education Minister misunderstood the costing as provided by the NPP flagbearer, explaining, the 78 million cedis is only for a single term’s implementation of the policy in the 2013-14 Academic year.

He said a Nana Akufo-Addo government will spend at least six per cent of the country’s GDP on education if voted into power.

From: Nathan Gadugah



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