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General News of Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Source: Today Newspaper

FCUBE a right, not a privilege - Nduom

2012 Flag-bearer of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom, has re-inforced the need for the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) government to implement the Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education (FCUBE) with much emphasis on the “compulsory” aspect of the policy.

According to him, the free compulsory basic education is a right that every school-going child in the country must enjoy, adding that on no account should an elected government renege on that educational right of Ghanaians.

Dr. Nduom could therefore not understand why successive governments that Ghana has had since the inception of the Fourth Republic, notably the ruling NDC and the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), were not able to implement the policy as entrenched in the 1992 Constitution.

“It is unfortunate that no government under the Fourth Republic has fulfilled the constitutional requirement on education—FCUBE,” he intimated.

He made these observations on Ghana, Great and Strong, a non-partisan programme, broadcast every Saturday, from 7:00 P.M., to 8:00 P.M., on Ghana’s premier internet-based radio,

Dr. Nduom who was the host of the programme engaged listeners in an interactive discussion via telephone calls and text messages on the need for governments to fulfill the constitutional requirement on education—FCUBE.

Buttressing his point, he quoted Chapter 6 of the 1992 Constitution—The Directive Principles of State Policy, Article 38 (1), and (2) which state that: “The State shall provide educational facilities at all levels and in all the Regions of Ghana, and shall, to the greatest extent feasible, make those facilities available to all citizens.

“The Government shall, within two years after Parliament first meets after the coming into force of this Constitution—1992, draw up a programme for implementation within the following ten years, for the provision of free, compulsory and universal basic education.”

He explained that per the provision in the constitution on FCUBE implementation, it should have started in 2005.

However, Dr. Nduom expressed worry about the failure on the part of both past and present governments to implement the policy.

His worry stemmed from the fact that it was a constitutional mandate which required that it should be fulfilled by any sitting government.

He cited the recent statement by the President of the United States of America (USA), Barrack Obama, on education when he [Obama] charged his administration to ensure that there was high quality pre-school education.

“Even the Americans who already have quality education still want to do more for their education,” Dr. Nduom underscored.

The PPP flag-bearer recounted what past Presidents-John Agyekum Kufuor and the late Professor John Evans Fiifi Atta Mills- said on education, especially the FCUBE.

For instance, he recounted that former President John Agyekum Kufuor on February 14, 2008 told Parliament that his government had lunched the implementation of the FCUBE.

He, therefore, questioned why subsequent governments did not continue with the policy?

He asserted that no political party, apart from the PPP, has placed much emphasis on the “compulsory” aspect of the policy.

Caller after caller shared same sentiments with Dr. Nduom on his position on the FCUBE.

For example, a caller from Nkoranza in the Brong-Ahafo region bemoaned the posture of the past governments for doing little to enhance the country’s education.

“Ghanaians must hold the government accountable for its failure to implement the FCUBE policy,” he insisted.