Feature Article of Sunday, 4 November 2012
Columnist: Goka, Frank
Our elders say, no matter how far a footpath travels, it leads to a destination; thus Ghana’s much talked-about preternatural IEA Debate which had a sitting President in attendance for the first time ever came to pass. Of course, the stakes at the event were expected to be high; and that manifested to the high tension experienced amongst the candidates. There were a few hitches as well as pluses at the debate but all the contestants elucidated their visions succinctly and I applaud them for it; afterall, we should give credit where it’s due! That being said, there were some phenomenal occurrences which beat our imaginations. Prominent among them was how President Mahama hurled Akuffo Addo by the occiput, to the classroom and offered him “Free Education” on most of the topics he (Akuffo) fumbled on, including his much taunted Free Education mantra. The only difference was, instead of being offered at the “secondary level”, Akuffo Addo received it at the quaternary level—the IEA Platform!
Foremostly, on his own education policy, John Mahama lectured the edentulous septuagenarian that a building starts from foundation; and that no one roofs a house before inception of its fundamental works. This is simple logic. This is why we need to strengthen the Basic level education by providing the School Buildings, Teacher quarters, train more quality Teachers for quality output and even provide electricity at communities to enhance education. If a pupil is educated under a tree at the mercy or the weather which might negatively influence teaching, what knowledge will he acquire to enter Senior High? In any case, do we have enough Senior Highs to absorb ALL the JHS graduates? Are we expecting “Senior High Under Trees” as well? This is why the concentration NOW should be on strengthening Basic levels and building of new Senior Highs schools. The equation doesn’t end there. The tertiary institutions equally need attention to get ready for influx of Secondary school graduates who might hitherto benefit from the so-called “Free Education”. Afterall, what good will it be to benefit from free secondary education and be stagnant. Can one imagine the magnitude of unemployment and other social vices? That’s why per the wisdom of the 1992 Constitution, education should be made “progressively free” as facility and resources become available. Secondly, when it came to what mattered most—providing facts and figures, JM admonished that, Akuffo Addo shouldn’t be like Okomfo Anokye to conjure and concoct figures from the sky as facts. On the issue of NHIS, Nana Addo purported that the NHIS is attracting less participants. He claimed subscription under President Kuffour has diminished from “9.9 million and 8.2 million”. JM corrected him that, the program wouldn’t have been dwindling when about 25 million claims have been made so far and that about 500 million GHC claims were reimbursed. Folks, even in 2010, subscription to NHIS were 15.555 million (See http://www.nhis.gov.gh/?CategoryID=309). Be the judge. Indeed, Akuffo Addo was like a Lotto Forecaster at the debate. When it came to the issue of the 250 doctors being trained at Cuba, he costed (this time around) the money spent on each student as 105,000 (GHC or $). JM lashed him this time around for “conjuring figures” and corrected that, the cost of training Doctors in Ghana and Cuba is 30,000 GHC and 5000$ respectively.That was not the end. Akuffo Addo again mentioned that a classroom block was 85,000ghc under President Kuffour, but costs 350,000ghc under current administration. Here, JM was on recess and couldn’t have the chance to educate him of his ignorance. Certainly, common sense (which is not common to some people) should explain that building a three-story state-of-the-art school blocks furnished with ultra-modern library, computer labs and other educative accessories will obviously cost more than a mere structural 6-classroom blocks. From there, he taught him the qualities that goes with the presidency: Affable, Calm, Coherence in comprehension, Truthfulness, Integrity , Precision and good body language or attributes as depicted by the President in his output opposing to Akuffo Addo’s desperation and arrogance as expressed from head to toe.
Nana, let me once again remind you that these educations that you received in Tamale were all FREE but QUALITY; if you adhere to them you can become president in your house and over your cronies effective January 2013.