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General News of Saturday, 28 November 2020


Akufo-Addo never brought Free SHS but 'progressive' free education - Kwesi Pratt

Seasoned journalist, Kwesi Pratt Seasoned journalist, Kwesi Pratt

Seasoned journalist, Kwesi Pratt has backed claims that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his government did not originate and roll-out the free Senior High School (SHS) programme.

Former President and NDC Presidential candidate, John Dramani Mahama claims his government started the free SHS policy but they couldn't implement it fully because Ghanaians voted them out of power in 2016.

“We started the programme and the NPP came and continued it. Unfortunately, the implementation has been very poor, and so it ended us in the double track. I assure you my countrymen, that within one year, I will cancel the double track.

"All the Community Day Schools we were building, 200 of them, we are going to finish them so that all the children can get schools to attend.

“With the Community Day Schools we are building, we are going to add dormitory blocks for girls and boys so that those who don’t come from the community where the school is sited, if they choose that school and they are posted there, they will be able to get a decent place to live and learn," Mr Mahama said during his tour of the Upper East Region.

But to some political critics, particularly NPP faithfuls, Mr. Mahama is peddling falsehood in his desperate attempts to win the 2020 elections. Some even took to mocking the former president for what they considered to be absurd claims since they believed President Nana Akufo-Addo is the sole initiator of the free SHS programme.

However, Kwesi Pratt thinks otherwise. Referencing the manifestoes of some political parties in the country to back his assertions, the Senior Journalist was emphatic that the free SHS was the most important item on the list of promises by the Progressive People's Party (PPP) prior to the 2012 and 2016 elections; thus the Akufo-Addo government cannot claim sole ownership either.

''Their most important policy was free SHS. In fact, PPP is the first political party that showed us how to fund the policy and also had a budget for it.''

To him, President Akufo-Addo rather rolled out progressive free education and not free SHS.

''They started with first years before moving to the second year and third year. That is progressive...When the NPP came into power, they did a progressive free education''

He added that the opposition NDC never condemned the free SHS but rather the argument was about how to implement it.

''The argument wasn't whether it's good or not but about how to implement it. The NPP said they will implement it instantly and that they don't want it to be progressive. Our brothers in the NDC also said they will make it progressive'', he said on Peace FM's ''Kokrokoo''.