The Promise Trackers Association Of Ghana (PROTAG) has expressed concerns over the contradictions and inconsistencies surrounding the implementation of the ruling NPP government flagship free SHS education policy.
Many Civil Society Organizations including Northern Network for Education and Development (NNED), IMANI-Ghana as well as Educationist have already called on the government to come clearly on framework on the implementation of the Free SHS Policy.
His Excellency Nana Akufo-Addo reiterated the manifesto pledge on February 2, 2017, at the 60th Anniversary Celebration of Okuapemman Senior High School in Eastern Region that “Without any equivocation, without any reservation, without any doubt to take Ghana to the stage where public SHS education will be free for every Ghanaian child.”
In a similar function, the Minister for Information, Hon. Mustapha Hameed, emphasized that Free SHS will be for all. There is nothing like you have passed BECE or not. Everyone will benefit.
However, the Minister to superintend the implementation of this laudably social contract has contradicted himself as his view opposed the 2016 manifesto pledge, the President’s word and his colleague minister for information.
Education Minister, Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh recently said on Accra-based Star fm that “Free SHS will be opened to pupils who pass their BECE”.
The deputy Minister for information, Hon. Kojo Oppong Nkrumah is also on record to have contradicted the manifesto and President, saying “they (NPP) didn’t promise Free SHS for all.”
According to PROTAG, having observed with keen interest, a recent commentary from government Officials. If you don’t pass Basic Education Certificate Examination, hardly will you benefit from the free SHS Policy.
PROTAG also argued that, the 2017 budget statement presented on behalf of the president said Free SHS will start with first years of the 2017/2018 academic year and not all Ghanaian students as promised.
These contradictions by key players in the government regarding the implementation of the free SHS has left so much uncertainties in the minds of parents and guardians, barely three months to the implementation of the policy.
The General Secretary of PROTAG, Danis Andaban told Class News Maxwell Attah that “Much as we applaud the government for indicating its commitment to providing Free SHS to all Ghanaians, we think the recent comments from the Education minister, contradicts what is stated in the party’s 2016 manifesto and even the President’s own words regarding the Free SHS.”
Mr Andaban added that PROTAG are of the firm conviction that without adequately addressing these issues, the policy will hit a snug. “For the minister to lead the implementation does not seem to have fully grasp the concept of the policy”. He said.
In a Press statement copied to Class News, PROTAG is demanding the following from Nana Akufo-Addo led Government.
1. A blueprint regarding how the Free SHS policy is to be implemented.
2. come clear as to whether all fees will be paid by the government or it is some amounts that will be taken.
3. Tell Ghanaians the grade cut off point for one to benefit from the policy.
4. Tell Ghanaians how students who will not be captured under the policy are expected to fund their education, that is, whether if one is desirous to continue with his/her education if the person does not meet the cut off point, whether that student will be doing fee paying.
5. Tell Ghanaians whether non Ghanaians in the country will be benefiting from this policy.
The Statement further commended civil society groups and fellow Ghanaians who are calling on the government to make issues regarding the policy clearer and unambiguous.
PROTAG is an amalgamation of young political activists across the country from the minority political parties who are committed to tracking the promises of the government and it’s implementation.