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Feature Article of Friday, 7 December 2012

Columnist: Akosomo, Kwadwo Nyantakyi

Free SHS will ensure justice for all

FREE SHS WILL ENSURE GROWTH AND JUSTICE FOR ALL

Shrewd and crafty politicians can design to make truth seem lies when they wish
to make an opponent’s manifesto not feasible economically. What really galls
the equation is men known for their dishonour and corruption are shamelessly
lying through their teeth to disparage an enterprise that is important for the
growth of the nation. Even as Nana Akkufo Addo is mooting the idea of fee-free
SHS, we also know that SHS education in Ghana has historically been the
opportunity for the rich and constant struggle for the
have-not.
The growth of a country depends on the level of education. Education reduces
poverty and stimulates economic growth, and no country has achieved rapid
economic growth without investing in education. Every advanced country has free
SHS education and Ghana as rapidly developing country would need all her
resources (brain) for economic growth and prosperity. Free SHS is vital for
every child; this is what the Americans call “no child left behind”. With the
no child left behind policy as introduced by former President George Bush’s
government, even children of illegal immigrants have chance of free SHS
education and the future beneficiary is the country. For the purpose of this
article I’ll use China as the model of free SHS.
Modern education laid a foundation for prosperity of China. China has set up a
modern education system with government as the major investor so that every
person is allowed to gain knowledge legally. In the past China had the Imperial
Exam system where smart students go ahead to colleges/universities while the
others ended up on the field but since the government made Jnr and SHS
compulsory in 1975 where all citizens must attend school for at least nine
years, the country has seen tremendous improvement in their economy and their world
status. The government provides primary education for six to nine years, starting
at age six or seven, followed by six years of secondary education for ages 12 to
18. In the higher level of studies, the Chinese government introduced series of
measures, to prevent students from dropping out from education, the incentives
included scholarships, subsidies, student loans and tuition fee reduction, hence
the present growth and prosperity.
In Ghana basic education was free during the imperial system where people
completed the Standard 4 middle school certificate at the age 16 or 17. Many
senior citizens with standard 4 certificate still working are doing good job
regardless of its short comings. The American system of education which is the
present system of education in the country phased out the old imperial system
which was community and government funded. The new system begins from JSS at
age 13-15, then 15-18 for SHS. The JSS is free but SHS requires the financial
support of wards. Therefore those whose parents are not financially sound to
continue on to SHS are permanently sidelined to the lower doldrums to face the
buffets of hard life. A number of factors
come into the equation when we talk about education
Early basic education as I have fore mentioned was open to all but soon after
the introduction of the SHS education changed from a resource for everyone, to
a resource provided based on wallet. SHS level of education as practiced in
Countries like the United States, UK, Canada, Germany, etc is free and sundry
for all as it plays one of the most important roles in life of school children
in establishing and polishing their intellectuality and personality. In
Britain State-run schools and colleges are financed through national taxation,
and take pupils free of charge between the ages of 3 and 18. This makes Nana
Addo’s free SHS education laudable as it includes every
Ghanaian.
I hope as Ghanaians vote on Friday they will see this fact and reject the lies
and preposterous description of Fee-Free SHS as inferior. This is being peddled
around by selfish and unpatriotic people just for political gains. Most of the
opponents of free SHS are rich people, they have their children in
International Schools (In Ghana) or in the Western world enjoying free SHS
education but the plight of the poor is not their concern. In September this
year, I had to help out my friend to pay the school fees of his daughter who
was entering SHS, I know the stress he went through. To your surprise this
friend is a manager, he has 2 children in SHS and 2 children in university.
The opponents of SHS know free SHS is vital for every Ghanaian child but if
they accept
the truth it might as well be fatal to their campaign and therefore have depended
on lies till this last hour of decision.
In conclusion, I’m imploring all to vote wisely so that needy children can get
the chance to apply themselves and reach as far as their potential will lead
them. Free SHS Education will help our Children to explore their capabilities
and will equip them to face the obstacles and hardships ahead of them. May God
bless you all, peace and no fighting.

Kwadwo Nyantakyi Akosomo

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