Diasporian News of Tuesday, 4 December 2012
PRESS STATEMENT BY THE ASSOCIATION OF CONCERNED GHANAIANS IN DIASPORA
Ghanaians Abroad Endorse Free Senior Secondary Education
The Association of Concerned Ghanaians in Diaspora (ACGID) has been following with keen interest this year´s electioneering campaign which by all standards has been issue-based rather than the personal attacks and vilification that have characterized previous elections.
ACGID has for the last four months monitored the various political parties, their manifestos, campaign promises, the feasibility of these pledges and how realistic they are. After a critical analysis of all the political parties and their policy proposals, one thing that stands clear is that education has become the most important issue in this election thanks to the NPP and Nana Akuffo-Addo who have made free senior high school education a center piece of their campaign.
Education is undoubtedly, the best investment that any country can make and all developed as well as emerging economies have reached their current levels of development because they have each made a conscious decision to invest in the education of their populace. In a highly developed and technologically advanced country such as Germany, government continues to invest nearly 11 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on Education. It is worth pointing out that although education in Germany is free from Kindergarten to the University, the quality has not been comprised in anyway .Indeed the MADE IN GERMANY brand which has gained universal recognition and acceptance as the epitome of quality and durability bears testimony to the quality of the German education.
Another case in point is the Republic of Ireland with a population of just 4.2 Million where the provision of free education has turned the hitherto agrarian economy into high-tech economy. Apart from education been free from Primary to the University level, tertiary students are also given maintenance grants to cover their living expenses.
ACGID believes that if Ireland a country with a population the size of Accra and without the natural resources such as Gold, Diamond, Cocoa, Timber and lately oil, can afford to provide free education for her people, there is no reason why Ghana cannot do same. Perhaps what has been lacking in Ghana all these years is visionary leadership and the political will.
Fortunately for Ghana, the NPP and Nana Akuffo-Addo are providing the needed visionary and transformational leadership by putting education on top of the political agenda. A closer examination of the free SHS policy as proposed by the NPP leaves no one in any doubt as to the comprehensive and forward looking nature of this policy. It´s comprehensiveness stems from the fact that it has been properly costed, the source of funding clearly indicated and the time frame for the implementation well defined and spelt out.
Obviously, a far-sighted proposal like the free SHS policy espoused by Nana Akuffo-Addo which is aimed at the socio-economic transformation of Ghana needs and deserves the support and endorsement of all well-meaning Ghanaians. It is against this backdrop that ACGID fully and wholeheartedly endorses the free SHS policy of Nana Akuffo-Addo. As parents, members of ACGID are convinced that free SHS education will go a long way in promoting social justice as well as providing disposal incomes which can be used to supplement the family budget.
Ironically, the fiercest critics and opponents of this policy are people who themselves have been beneficiaries of free education in the three Northern Regions of Ghana. It must be pointed out that nineteen ministers in the current government have all enjoyed free education. As such we find it very hypocritical and a mark of double standards that these ministers should be championing the opposition to the free SHS policy. Even more pathetic is the fact that these perpetual pessimists have so far failed to make alternative proposals apart from claiming that the free SHS policy is not feasible. This in our view is an unfortunate position and a vivid demonstration of the lack of vision on the part of the ruling NDC government.
We would want to state that despite the insidious propaganda aimed at denigrating the free SHS policy, ACGID would continue to be an advocate for free SHS education in Ghana because we are convinced that it is the right policy for our country, it is feasible and should be implemented now.
Dr (Mrs) Florence Adjovi Kumade
Alhaji Karim Abdallah
(Public Relations Officer)