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General News of Friday, 12 April 2019

Source: citinewsroom.com

Refusal to consult widely caused free SHS challenges – Mahama

Flagbearer for the National Democratic Congress, John Mahama, has said the government’s refusal to consult extensively with stakeholders before implementing the free Senior High School policy led to some major setbacks with its implementation.

The former President held that the lack of infrastructure is hindering the smooth running of the policy.

“Some of us foresaw the difficulties that they are facing today and that is why we tried to warn them,” he said at the NDC’s Campus Lecture series at the University of Cape Coast on Thursday. The lecture was under the theme “the state of education in Ghana”.

The call for stakeholder consultation for the free SHS policy is one the former President has made since the programme was introduced.

Mr. Mahama also assured that he would not make the mistake of not seeking counsel from stakeholders if he became President again.

“We must open up to consensus building. I want to assure that if I become President of this country again… within the first three months of assuming office, we would hold a stakeholder meeting on Free SHS and we will form a consensus in this country on how it should be implemented so that we do not toy with the destinies of our children.”

The former President also explained that the New Patriotic Party has depleted the Ghana Education Trust Fund thus making it difficult to pay contractors working on various school infrastructure projects.

In Mr. Mahama’s view, the government has decided to mortgage the GETFund in exchange for $1.5 billion to be repaid over 20 year period adding that this would prevent the universities from getting infrastructure.



Parliament in November 2018 approved a $1.5 billion facility for the GETFund for educational infrastructure in the country.

The facility would utilize portions of GETFund revenues to service medium-term debts.

Mr. Mahama expressed fears that this will cripple the infrastructure development via the fund.

“Once those projects are executed with the money taken, there will be no GETFund available because all the money will be going to service the loan that one particular government has taken.”