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Opinions of Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Columnist: Nana Akosua Frimponmaa

A letter to Nana Addo: Money on the head of every child

Dear Mr. President,


I wish to extend my heartfelt congratulations to the government for the successful implementation of the Free Senior High School policy. Education is the key platform that will launch us to make us globally competitive and offer every single child an opportunity to become a whole participant toward National Development. Kindly know that you have my support and wishes for the success of this policy which I believe is a dream come through for Ghanaians. Those of us who over the years have worked for the disenfranchised, have been uplifted, and will all ensure that this New Dawn is here to stay for good.

However, Mr. President, currently this well-intentioned policy appears to be blind to a chunk of the population who for over the years were marginalized by previous policies or lack thereof. This year 36,849 candidates have been disqualified due to their poor scores in English or Mathematics. What happens to all these students? Will they be left behind? Will we Fail these poor kids for failing in English or Mathematics at such a tender age? Please, Your Excellency, are they not too young for us to Fail them? You will agree One child, is One, too many.

Mr. President, another immediate dilemma is the exemption of Private Institutions in the placement of students. This means empty classrooms, which threatens their current operations and will lead them to extinction. This further widens the gap between the qualified and the “failed”. Their plea for inclusion is a gut-wrenching one. I had to painfully closed a Secondary School I personally financed and operated in the Dormaa District due to lack of financial support, after three years of successful operation, Sustaining its operations became unbearable and a solution that gave hope to many students and their families met its end.

I, therefore, recommend that Government place the agreed amount, payable per child, on the Head of Every Child instead of the institutions, to help find an alternative route through the Private Sector to the dream of Universal Secondary Education. Skilled labor institutions can as well absorb these candidates and give them the requisite skills to specialize in their chosen Trade. This will encourage Private Sector to bridge the infrastructural gap to accelerate National Development.

In doing so, two birds will be killed with one stone. This will further cement this policy as one free from discrimination and one full of promise and hope for the future that I believe you had intended it to be.

Thank you for your audience and once again I say AYEKOO.

Yours Sincerely,