Feature Article of Tuesday, 4 December 2012
Columnist: Asiedu-Young, Bellinia
NPP has it right! Their free Senior High School (SHS) education is so much on target that it is sending cold shivers down the spine of political opponents and causing them to shake at the knees. NPP is promising that when elected to power they will provide free basic education. Ghana, a country, blessed with numerous natural resources, is as yet to convert its natural endowments into money to fill the pockets of citizens. In the interim, many of its citizens live far below the poverty level while the country’s caretakers continue the search for an open sesame of financial freedom, intermittently marred by inexcusable trickeries, fraud and errors of gargantuan proportions. That is why Nana’s vision of a free basic education from kindergarten to Senior High School (SHS) is a welcome initiative. Nelson Mandela said: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Not only is Education an important component of NPP’s well packaged manifesto, it is an initiative of topmost priority.
What is it about free education that is creating so much euphoria? It is an undeniable fact that Education is a very valuable human resource: a key to human enlightenment. It is the best way towards ensuring a society of forward-thinkers who understand modern issues, are able to scrutinize policies and question public officials. The first benefit of providing free education up to SHS level is that all Ghanaian children will have access to higher learning; another benefit is that it will take a huge load off the shoulders of poor parents. It will also raise the national literacy rate. What will this imply? It will imply first of all an official recognition and acceptance that basic education starts from kindergarten and ends at the senior high school level – laws will be enacted to put this into effect. It will also mean every child in Ghana of basic school going age having an equal chance to be educated. Just visualize this - all Ghanaian children having equal opportunity and access to the same competitive education until the age of maturity. Having a country full of citizens with a higher education means Ghana will be ahead in its attempt to establish the appropriate linkages between its economic growth and the national development agenda –meaning citizens having an understanding of matters that affect them, these factors will eventually help them to move their development themselves. Finally, enacting such a responsible policy will mean proper management of Ghana’s financial wealth to make funding possible. It will put Ghana’s caretakers on their toes and bring to an end, the era of functionary tea “parties” as in food hospitality. It will mean harder work for our Presidents, Vice-Presidents and government Ministers.
Those who debate against free SHS should carry their points across to the unemployed (specifically the ones whose families could not afford to send them to school). Debating against free SHS is an attack on the future of the younger generation especially those whose families are financially disadvantaged. To debate recklessly against free education while children wallow in poverty in the midst of plenty is irresponsible, and an affirmation that some Ghanaians favour the inequalities that paying basic education creates; and they want to continue to create a class system in Ghana and punish children whose parents are poor. An urgent review of sources of revenue from oil, energy, cocoa, foreign remittances, gold, diamond, bauxite etc., should be done to explain how government dispenses public wealth. I will reiterate that it is our collective obligation and in everyone’s interest that all Ghanaian children receive free education up to SHS. Nana Akufo-Addo has already set this ball rolling, so by this article, I’m appealing to Ghanaians everywhere to give a thumbs up his party, The New Patriotic Party (NPP).
The NPP key players are experienced in their field. Nana Akufo-Addo is a lawyer and seasoned politician of excellent reputation. He has been at the forefront of Ghana’s political struggle and has held several public positions. Prior to being elected as the NPP Presidential candidate, He was MP for the Abuakwa South constituency, Attorney General/Minister of Justice; and Minister of Foreign Affairs. This is his 2nd attempt at Ghana’s Presidency. The elections in 2008 ended in a run-off after Nana Akufo-Addo won the first round a few votes short of the majority vote. By all accounts, he comes highly recommended as the best for the job as Ghana’s next President. Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia is the Vice-Presidential candidate. Prior to his being selected to partner Nana Akufo-Addo, he was Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana, a leading economist and lecturer, one of the leading members of the economic team that helped stabilize the Ghanaian cedi, whereas before you needed a “suitcase-full” of money to purchase a simple television set, you’re now able to carry along with you a few denominations of the cedi notes in your wallet to purchase one. It proved to be a bold transformational economic initiative.
Vote for NPP on December 7, 2012 because the other parties will NOT provide for Ghana as they will. A vote for NPP is the right step forward.
Bellinia Asiedu-Young, Richmond Hill, Ontario