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General News of Monday, 10 September 2012

Source: radioxyzonline

Akufo Addo’s free SHS policy is “cheap talk” - Lee Ocran

The Minister of Education, Lee Ocran has described as cheap talk, main opposition flagbearer Nana Akufo-Addo’s flagship electoral promise of free Senior High School education.

Nana Akufo Addo says he will use less than one percent of Ghana’s GDP which translates into about 78 million Ghana cedis as additional cost for the programme in the first year of his government should he win the December polls.

However, at a news conference Monday afternoon in Accra, Mr. Lee Ocran said not only did Nana Akufo-Addo get the facts and figure concerning SHS education wrong, but also can’t implement the free SHS policy.

“Nana Akufo-Addo stated that he is going to give us free senior high school… he also claims that our GDP expenditure on education has fallen to four percent, let me tell you that last year our GDP on education was 9.8 percent and never has it fallen below six percent…he doesn’t even know the figures.

“UNESCO demands that expenditure on education should not fall below six percent and ours have never fallen below six percent so that is falsehood number 1” Lee Ocran said.

The former Ambassador added that “he (Nana Addo) says he needs 78 million cedis to be able to give his free SHS education for the first year; he doesn’t need that, he needs 1.2 billion so it means he doesn’t know the figures.

“People don’t do their homework well because talk is cheap. Ladies and gentlemen I want to tell you that if it were easy to do free education, Kwame Nkrumah would have been the first person to do it”.

But in a reaction, a deputy communication’s director of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Yaw Buaben Asamoah said the free SHS pledge by Nana Addo is a well thought out policy which is achievable.

He said the NPP is committed to ensuring that policy will be implemented to benefit the majority of Ghanaians adding that it is not mere talk as described by the Education Minister.

He explained that the 78 million quoted by the NPP is only for the first term of the first year of the programme and not the entire first year.