Editor's note: YEN reader Nuhu Ndebilla offers his opinion on the Free SHS policy that the President Akufo-Addo administration intends to implement by the start of the 2017 academic year.
Now it's official: the Free SHS scheme will only cover students entering SHS for the first time in September 2017, at a cost of GH¢400 million to be sourced from the Annual Budget Funding Amount and other domestic revenue sources.
Remember, the NPP has politically abolished some taxes (surely to reduce revenue inflow) but those actions are considered by many as economically impetuous.
OK, the NPP campaigned on Free SHS for all students. Now that they have been voted for and in power, the NPP have conveniently moved from their initial campaign promise of Free SHS for all to a selected few (only first-years).
Interesting, what has changed?
Free SHS means increased enrolment that would further require more infrastructure across the country, more teachers, more teaching and learning materials.
To me, it seems there was no proper planning that went into the NPP's Free SHS policy implementation that is scheduled to start this 2017/2018 academic year, barely a year into Nana Addo's presidency.
I believe that this rush to start implementing the Free SHS policy is ill-advised and could fail even before NPP’s first term in government ends. Sustainable funding, accessibility and quality are vital components of any successful educational policy, free or shared. These critical prerequisites certainly cannot be ignored.
As I see it, before fully implementing its own flagship and campaign promise - the Free SHS policy, - President Nana Addo’s government should have continued to take on Mahama’s Progressively Free SHS, Secondary Education Improvement Project, the Community Day SHS infrastructure, and T-TEL (Transforming Teacher Education and Learning) programs, at least until the end of its first term in office.
In other words, the best and surest way to go would have been studying the educational policies of the outgone NDC/Mahama government before the implementation of the Free SHS program.
President John Mahama’s educational policies and programs outlook have been the best for Ghana so far, and no sane government can succeed in implementing its educational programmes if those policies and programmes championed by the erstwhile Mahama/Amissah Arthur administration are abandoned.
My apologies if l sounded too direct and offensive, l forgot that we belong to the "incompetent" Mahama government and would not qualify to advise this highly qualified and competent President Nana Addo/Dr. Bawumia government. All the same, I wish them well.