Choose NDC’s education policy, it is better than NPP's free SHS; says Mahama Ayariga


Deputy Education Minister Mahama AyarigaChoose NDC’s education policy, it is better than NPP's free SHS; says Mahama Ayariga

Deputy Education Minister Mahama Ayariga has urged Ghanaians to buy into the governing NDC’s policy to provide greater access to quality education and reject the opposition NPP's utopian promise of free Senior High School education.




He said the major challenges confronting the nation’s education system were that of quality, relevance and access, stressing that “all these take resources to deal with.”

Speaking on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show Wednesday, the deputy minister explained that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government, in its quest to resolve these problems, had focused on providing access which he said had more to do with improving infrastructure and deploying more teachers.

Since assuming office in 2009, Mr Ayariga said government had increased the stock of classroom blocks from about 9,000 to 12,480.

“So within the space of three years – at the senior high school level – we have increased the stock of classrooms by about 3000,” he emphasised, saying “that’s what you are talking about when you talk about providing access to secondary education...”

Also, he said government had increased subsidies to schools from GHS17 million to “as high as GHS48 million.”

In response to the NPP's signature promise of free SHS, the minister said “…theoretically, senior high school [education] is free in Ghana” because tuition fee is paid by government across the country.

What makes education at that level expensive, he added, had to do with PTA levies, school uniforms, sports wear, extra classes or teacher incentive levies as well as other school levies charged by the heads of schools in consultation with parents.

Mahama Ayariga insisted the NDC has a more practical and cheaper approach to providing universal access to secondary education. That approach is to progressively build more day schools “so that every child can have access, parents are not compelled to have to pay boarding [fees] and only parents who opt to [have their wards stay in boarding schools] pay for them," he explained.

“So we can as a country, easily achieve that universal access [to education] through the mechanisms that we [the NDC] are proposing…” Mr Ayariga maintained.

During the phone-in segment of the show, the Executive Director of the Danquah Institute - a pro-NPP think tank - Mr. Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, called into the programme to take Mr. Ayariga on for some of his submissions.

Referring to a new policy which has raised the minimum aggregate for qualification into senior high school from 36 to 42 and which has increased the pass rate at the Basic Education Certificate Examination level from 46.93% in 2011 to 99.56% in 2012, Gabby said the government had nicodemously created the situation where virtually all Junior High School students will attend SHS.

But what structures has the government put in place to absorb all the JHS graduates into senior high school before changing the minimum aggregate for qualification? he asked.

Responding to Mr Ayariga's submission that government was in talks with the universities to find a way of absorbing the two batches of students who completed SHS this year because of the three-year and four-year SHS completion clash, Gabby said it was interesting that the government was now engaging in discussions on resolving a problem it knew would come up three years ago.

The government reversed the duration for SHS education from four years to three years, creating a situation where two batches of senior high school students graduated this year.

From: Dorcas Efe Mensah



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