Seasoned Journalist, Abdul Malik Kweku Baako has punched holes in the claims by former President and NDC Presidential Candidate, John Dramani Mahama regarding the free SHS policy of the incumbent government.
Delivering a speech during a tour of the Upper East Region, Mr. John Mahama stated his government commenced the free SHS policy but unfortunately couldn’t implement it because they were voted out of power.
“We started the programme and the NPP came and continued it. Unfortunately the implementation has been very poor, and so it ended us in double track. I assure you my country men, that within one year, I will cancel the double track.
“All the Community Day Schools we were building, 200 of them, we are going to finish them so that all the children can get schools to attend.
“With the Community Day Schools we are building, we are going to add dormitory blocks for girls and boys so that those who don’t come from the community where the school is sited, if they choose that school and they are posted there, they will be able to get a decent place to live and learn”, Mr Mahama said at Tuobong in the Tempane District.
But Kweku Baako says Mr. Mahama’s claims are false.
Speaking on Peace FM’s “Kokrokoo” programme on Wednesday, he emphasized that the erstwhile Mahama administration never introduced the free SHS initiative.
According to him, the former President’s interest lay in building 200 E-block Community Day Schools which, according to Parliamentary records, he managed to only construct 29 schools out of the 200 that he promised.
He wondered at what point did Mahama start the free SHS or when he intended to launch the policy to merit credit for the policy.
”Implementation of this option, that is the Mahama option, started in 2015/2016 academic year under the previous government of course. Under this option, 12 recurrent items amouting to Ghc 162 per anum per student was absorbed for 320,488 day students. Additional proposal was made to include 120,000 boarders from deprived schools with an amount of Ghc 166 per anum per student; this was however not implemented.”
“Both day students and boarders were included unlike the Mahama option that he began with day students, promised to add boarders which he could not. And indeed let’s be honest, they left a huge bill . . . Mahama’s view was to establish 200 E-block schools within four years before we can actually go deep into what Akufo-Addo and co are doing now. By the time they were leaving office, their handing-over notes showed they had constructed 46 schools. Cross-checking, double-checking and now Parliamentary records showed they did 29. Now, ask yourself that if in four years they did 29 instead of the 200, even if you give them the 46; I’m prepared to do so for whatever reasons, when would we have reached where Akufo-Addo has reached?” he said.
To him, Ghanaians may have waited for a lifetime for the free SHS to become a reality under the Mahama administration.
“If you look at [the outcome] the output, then we might as well wait till Jesus Christ comes,” he said.