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Feature Article of Thursday, 18 October 2012

Columnist: Ayeboafo, Yaw Awuah Boadu

Why President Mahama opposes free SHS

I did not understand why President Mahama so opposes the free SHS policy of the NPP until I read his maiden book My First Coup D’état. It's with pleasure when I decided to buy my kindle edition of his book for £9.40 via amazon.co.uk, not as a supporter of his political ideals but a person with deep interest in political discourse. However, I was utterly shocked to learn his deep seated disgust and contempt for the ordinary Ghanaian as exposed in the book. It seems to motivate his view against free SHS.
Thank God! I could read. Thanks to my parents and many other parents though uneducated farmers but break the odds to get their wards educated with their last cedi as they recognized education as the only avenue to seek greater opportunity and success in life. Why President Mahama still believes Ghana is not ready for free SHS in spite of the huge number of families who cannot afford and our new found oil resources? Let’s tell President Mahama, part of the real cost of financing a free SHS policy is forgoing the unprecedented payment or negotiated settlement of government’s debts against the interest of the state of which his government is noted for.
I was shocked to learn that President Mahama and his siblings benefited from the free education policy instituted for people in the Northern parts of Ghana. Isn't ironic for a man who benefited from free SHS forty years ago even though his Dad could have afforded to still oppose such a policy for majority Ghanaians who cannot afford?
One need not go farther to unearth President Mahama's avowed view against free SHS but in his book.
To President Mahama, education should be a tool to perpetuate class hegemony in our society. Access to elite schools should not be based on merit, competence, good academic performance and academic competition. Rather President Mahama believes that access to schools like Achimota should be based on one's family status and class in the society not even ability to pay. He believes that such schools should segregate among children in the society. Bluntly, he believes that there should be separate schools for children of doctors, lawyers or politicians and children of farmers, fishermen, market women or low income earners in our society.
President Mahama unashamedly put this view down in his book as he took on a dormitory mate who happened to be the ward of an uneducated farmer. President Mahama only sought to understand and view the behavior of his mate only from the angle of his parents being farmers. President Mahama seemed to find it difficult to understand why that boy's father decided to bring him to Achimota. To President Mahama that boy did not belong to the social class or upper echelon class who Achimota was their preserve.
We believe President Mahama's abhorrence of free SHS, which is constitutionally enshrined is borne out this belief-disgust, disregard for the poor or class hegemony. A free SHS can effectively break the preserve of the Achimotas for the Mahamas as it can break the barrier of class and status in the society which to President Mahama should be the major consideration or yardstick. Rightly but abhorrently as President Mahama believes, a free SHS will make accessibility equal for all to elite schools, in other words education. A free SHS will reduce the barrier of entry to elite schools only to merit and academic excellence as against Mahama’s view of class and status. This will deepen competition and open opportunity to wards from poorer backgrounds to access better education. Eventually children can compete and break the preserve of accessibility to elite schools and opportunities in our society to the wards of the Mahama's. A situation President Mahama so abhors and seems to explain his opposition to a free SHS policy.
We urge all people who believe in equality of educational and life opportunities for all children irrespective of the status or class of their parents in the society to rise up and challenge President Mahama's interest in public office. We urge all farmers, artisans, traders and all people who consider themselves in the lowest echelons of our society and all those in the upper class but believe in egalitarian or classless society to join hands to condemn President Mahama and vote against him in December to prevent his agenda of a class society.
Let farmers nation-wide demand that he does not address this year’s National Farmers Day slated for the last day in November because of the general elections for he does not have their interest at heart.
We call on all Ghanaians, especially the down trodden who represent the majority and consider equality of education for all children to rally together and register their protest against the presidential bid of John Mahama in the forthcoming election.
Long live children, long live Ghana.

Yaw Awuah Boadu Ayeboafo, aayeboafo@hotmail.com, Tepa-Ashanti

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