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Feature Article of Thursday, 18 October 2012

Columnist: Quashigah, Korshie

The Intellectual Dishonesty Of Think-Tank; Ghana First.

The Northampton Chapter of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the UK wishes to strongly react to the unfortunate and opportunistic news conference of Friday October 12, held in Accra by a Think-Tank of education experts called Ghana First.

Led by one Dr. Ebenezer Kofi Hayford, of the Department of Earth Sciences University of Ghana, the group outlined to Ghanaians the results of a “survey” they carried out, the result of which according to them, proved that the currently proposed Free SHS Policy of Nana Akufo Addo and the NPP is not attainable.

We wants to draw the attention of the said group to the shabby nature of their work and/or the pressure they were put under to hold the said press conference to please whoever funded the said “survey” if there was a “survey” at all and to expose the inconsistencies in their figures, logic and general dishonesty.

To start with, in the NDC’s 2012 manifesto, Page 15: under the heading; OUR ACHIEVEMENTS IN EDUCATION, they said they had • Eliminated 40% of the “Schools Under Trees’’ in less than 4 years with the construction of over 1,700 new Basic school buildings out of a total of about 4,300.Yet Ghana First quotes 1,250 new Basic School buildings!! Indeed, as I write now, (9.30am Monday, 15th October) Hon. Mahama Ayariga of the NDC has just now confirmed on Joyfm, the figure of 1,700 on Super Morning Show. Whose figures then do we believe sirs, Which is which? And if this is the key premise of their “survey” then where is their credibility for this report which we are to base our decisions on.

If, however, they copied their figures from Page 16 of NDC's Overview of The Better Ghana Agenda book which was published in April, 2012 or better still if they concluded their “survey” in April or after, why have they not for objectivity, captured in their analysis the policy issues and content of the Free SHS policy which includes QUALITY and ACCESS INITIATIVES such as; 1. Teachers First. 2. Redefining Basic Education. 3. Free Universal Secondary Education. 4. The 3 Rs (Reading, wRiting & aRithmetic) and ICT Proficiency. 5. Vocational, Technical Skills Training and Apprenticeship. 6. EDUCATION INFRASTRUCTURE AND IMPROVEMENT. 7. Science Technology & Innovation. Which was already out before they concluded their work and yet have been able to capture and analyze in detail the manifesto position of the NDC’s education policy, that was only launched on the 4th October in answer to the NPP’s Free SHS?.

Again, their finalizing example they gave with Greater Accra having 45 SHS to take on 376,859 candidates graduating is as porous as the their analysis of the issues so far, because, how did they come to the definite conclusion that all these students will and must enter SHS in Accra, when we know the contrary is the truth. (what happened to technical vocational training, which is equally key at that level and would be encouraged by the NPP) This is not to say there’s no need for more SHS expansion, but Ghana First has over simplified this intellectual exercise with their doom’s day permutations of biased scenarios just to create the basis on which to crucify the Free SHS as they have concluded.

What more contradiction is there to the conclusions of Ghana First, when the president they tried to back by bashing the FREE SHS policy of Nana Addo, is also publicly out there campaigning and telling the same people Nana Addo shouldn’t tell Free SHS to, that he would implement same. Therefore, what is it in his or in 2016, that the NDC can do to suddenly get it right that the NPP CANNOT implement in the same period?, when the think-tank says it is NOT ATTAINABLE as a policy.

How Ghana First, progressive, realistic and development oriented has this group of lecturers been to the Ghanaian?, when they have failed to throw a non biased intellectual light on the debate on education but rather bashed one side of it with all their energies. By the above, am referring these intellectuals to this statement by the former progressive President of Botswana, Festus Mugae on Joy News Channel on Multitv that “Botswana has about 90% Literacy rate because of Free Education to the Secondary level. Additional teachers were recruited from other countries including Ghana. School infrastructures were constructed while the Free education program was ongoing. At the tertiary level, Science Students had full scholarship, others had interest free loans”.

What do they say now to the seasoned and forward looking statement from Festus Mugae who has actually done it.

To those who term the FREE SHS POLICY as a “destroyer satisfier” I would like to ask, destroying what to satisfy what? What is strategic decision making to them?, there is currently no equal distribution of the nation’s resources among the sectors but done with a view to meeting basic and essential priority needs. For if in the crisis of the educational mess we find ourselves, a strong decisive leader who looks beyond the now, identifies that our survival in the competition ahead globally requires the skillful and qualitative education of our people is the only solution, decides to PRIORITISE our resource spending to correct this state of affairs so that those sectors that are said to be “destroyed” to “satisfy” the nationally prioritized agenda that would in the very short term yield such quality, well trained human resource whose effective output makes up by far more than what was “destroyed” from those other sectors, why all the fuss?.

What modern and first class infrastructure did the northern part of Ghana have when our founding President Dr. Kwame Nkrumah introduced the free education policy to that part of the country?, but with its introduction came the detailed implementation attention given it to develop.

President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe when he first attained independence and realized that his people severely lacked education resolved to commit as much as 50% of that country’s resources to this very important sector on which all other sectors depended until his aim was achieved. It can very much be done if we make it a national priority, an urgent one as such.

If former President Kufuor had waited for an all modern complete infrastructure and well trained doctors and nurses in excess before embarking on his now famous NHIS, as the NDC and Ghana First think-tank are implying, this nation would still have been waiting for an NHIS.

If as all candidates have now come to accept, this FREE SHS POLICY solves our problems in the educational sector then let us gather the strength of conviction as a people to stand with Nana Akufo Addo, come December 7th and vote massively for the NPP.

Korshie Quashigah.

NPP NORTHAMPTON, UK.

07984125140

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