General News of Tuesday, 6 November 2012
Source: The Tide Newspaper
An educationist and a former tutor of Abesim Roman Catholic School and ST Patrick Middle School in Sunyani respectively, Mr. John Algba, has accused three leading members of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) tradition for their silence in educational matters in the country.
In a paper tilted Historical Insight Into Ghana's Educational Policies-A Critical Overview for Future Related Issues, the 61-year-old product of Aburi Methodist Training College with an 11-year -teaching experience-from 1969 to 1981-said the father of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Edward Akufo-Addo, Mr. J.H. Mensah and Dr. Kofi Abrefi Busia together with leading members of the National Liberation Council (NLC) were responsible for the scrapping of free compulsory eduction for primary and middle schools in Ghana undertaken by Dr. Kwame Nkrumah from 1961 to 1966 when he was overthrown.
According to the veteran educationist, the NPP's flag bearer Nana Akufo-Addo should have sought advice from J.H. Mensah, former President John Agyekum Kufuor and Dr Jones Ofori Atta etc who were senior members of the time the fee free compulsory primary education was scrapped off.
Therefore, the free senior high school policy being proposed by Nana Addo is a challenge to his father's wisdom that fee free education was an albatross on the nation's neck.
According to Mr. John Alagba, Dr Edward Akuffo-Addo was the Chairman of the Political Committee of the NLC from 1966-1968.
He was also the Chairman of the Constitutional Commission established by the NLC to draft a new Constitution for the country for the Second Republic whilst Dr K. A. Busia was the Chairman, National Advisory Committee, Chairman, Center for Civic Education in 1967-1968 and J.H. Mensah was the Commissioner for Finance and Economic Planning from 1967-1969.
According to John Alagba, soon after the overthrow of the Nkrumah regime the budget statement read by the then Commissioner of Finance, Major A. A Afrifa was that, “It was unwise to continue to pay allowances to teacher trainees,” so in a flash book allowances for students in Training Colleges as well as monthly allowances for pupil teachers undergoing teacher training were withdrawn with immediate effect.
As if that was not enough blow to students in the country, the Progress Party (PP) government led by Dr. Busia introduced loan schemes for university students to replace the then existing free university education.
This did not go down well with students so there were very serious disturbances at the various university campuses across the country.
According to him, the 1961-62 academic year will forever remain golden in the annals of Ghana's education history because it actually marked the beginning of government's fee free education for primary and middle schools in the whole of tropical Africa.
He added that in that year alone, Primary Schools rose from 3,552 in 1960 to 6,034 in 1961-1962 whilst Middle schools picked from 1,117 in 1960-1962 to 1,626 and Secondary Schools from 39 through 59 to 68 in 1962.
Mr. John Alagba said the fee free education was a component of the Accelerated Development Plan drawn for the country from 1951 to 1961.
And when the programme was halted after the 1966 coup enrolment outstripped existing schools hence the beginning of private primary schools-dubbed experimental schools-started springing up in their numbers especially in cities and urban areas.