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Politics of Sunday, 2 March 2014

Source: citifmonline.com

Kweku Baako criticizes gov’t on free SHS U-turn

Editor in chief of the new Crusading Guide newspaper, Abdul Malik Kweku Baako, has taken a swipe at government over its promise to make secondary education free.

President John Mahama in his state of the nation address last week said plans were afoot to progressively implement the free Senior High School (SHS) concept.

This has since generated heated debate in the mass media with the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) describing government’s decision as another stolen campaign promise by the NPP 2012 Presidential candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo.

Commenting on the debate on Joy FM’s news analysis programme, News file, Abdul Malik Kweku Baako described as hypocritical government’s sudden turn promising to make secondary education free beginning the 2015/2016 academic year.

He questioned the rationale behind the promise when according to him there was huge deficit in the education sector in terms of quality and infrastructural development.

Mr. Baako recalled the importation of a purported tape recording by the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the run up to the 2012 general elections which created the impression that the General Overseer of the International Central Gospel Church, Dr. Mensah Otabil kicked against free education propounded by Nana Akufo-Addo and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) as their flagship programme.

“I have been asking myself in the cause of elections 2012 the campaign, what was the rational for bringing in the Otabil tape which was talking of free, that there was nothing like free and that even something being free was not good enough.”

He sought clarification, “What was the rational in bringing that tape into the front burner in support of their case even if they did not originate it they applied it in the campaign messages and the communication because they thought it was valid point to show the poverty of Akufo-Addo’s focus on education.”

He also made reference to the NDC’s argument that former Senior Minister, J.H Mensah of the NPP also rubbished the free education concept when he was a Member of Parliament.

Mr. Baako maintained that the NDC lied to Ghanaians with its vehement opposition to the NPP’s free education concept only to win political power and change position.

“I don’t get the point that is being made today and what surprises me is that I suddenly get the impression that we are being told that access and quality which officially was the NDC’s stand appear to have been resolved adequately or sufficiently to enable the operationalization of this concept even if in a partial way.”

He charged government to be sincere to Ghanaians saying, “If within one and half years and in spite of the economic and physical challenges that we are confronted with in this country today enough has been done relative to access and quality in order to trigger this in 2014/2015; then I will be asking myself what is the big deal in that spirited opposition that was launched against somebody who said look I could do it, I will be beginning in September 2013 and proceed in this graduated progressive manner, what was the big deal, he asked?”

He added, “The NDC is suggesting that what they have put out there is not exactly the same as Akufo-Addo put out there, in some areas they are right in terms of exactitude, there are certain differences and there will always be such variations but the fact still remains that we are talking about something free.”

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