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Opinions of Thursday, 14 November 2013

Columnist: Agyemang, Katakyie Kwame Opoku

God will Punish John Mahama and his NDC

....for Destroying our Educational System

Of late, it is more irritating to see several senior high school graduates on the streets adding to the number of unemployed people in the country. They are on the streets not because they did not pass their final examinations - WASSCE/SSSCE. But, they are on the streets all because they could not gain admission into the tertiary institutions, especially the public universities due to limited educational infrastructure and teaching personnel. The problem has been compounded by the reversal of the senior high school (SHS) duration from 4 years to 3 years in 2009 when the NDC assumed the reigns of governance.

Because of this bad educational directive, which was spearheaded by then Vice President, John Mahama, two student batches - SHS 3 and 4 left the senior high schools at the same time this year. As a result, 409, 000 candidates had to compete for the limited space at the public universities. According to Professor Ernest Aryeetey, Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, only 14,695 out of 52,202 undergraduate and sub-degree applicants were admitted this 2013/14 academic year. The rest, 37,507 could not be admitted due to limited staff and infrastructure.

At the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, over 45,000 applications were received, but the university could also admit only 17,000. This means 28,000 applicants were rejected due to limited staff and infrastructure.

The story at the University for Development Studies (UDS) was not different. The university admitted 6,339 students out of the total 19,161 applicants to pursue various undergraduate courses on its four campuses. Professor Haruna Yakubu, Vice Chancellor of UDS announced that; 'Our wish was to admit even more students, but unfortunately any further increase would have meant that we would be exerting intense pressure on our academic infrastructure and facilities.'

At the University of Winneba, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Akwasi Asabere-Ameyaw revealed that out of 13,173 applications received for undergraduate programmes, the university offered admission to just 5,690. Of 663 applications received for postgraduate programmes 273 were offered admission.

At the University of Energy and Natural Resources at Sunyani, which the NDC claims to have built recently, officials said they had to reject 349 prospective students out of 909 applicants. The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Esi Awuah, said the decision to reject students was also because of insufficient space and inadequate lecture theatres and laboratories. The same problem also existed at the University of Mines and Technology, Tarkwa, and the University of Cape Coast.

The question is;

If the NDC government was not ready to expand infrastructure at the country's public universities, why did they allow two batches (SHS 3 and 4) to write the WASSCE/SSSCE at the same time?Again, why do we rush our kids through the education system, instead of allowing them to remain in school to learn at their own pace?

Fellow patriotic citizens, let's all assume without admitting that revenue from gold, cocoa, and timber, as well as the taxes and loans from donors have all been misapplied or misappropriated by the powers that be, what about our oil revenue that gives the country over $2bn (two billion dollars) a year?

Can't the present government stop the payment of unnecessary judgement debts and channel the money into educational infrastructure? Why should John Mahama be paid GHC12,000 every month, his ministers GHC9,000 each every month whilst nothing seems to work perfectly in Ghana?

In fact, if students who have passed their examinations cannot gain admission into tertiary institutions; those who have completed tertiary institutions cannot get employment because of a ban on public sector employment, then of what use is the country's education system? And what does the NDC government expect our children to do - engage in armed robbery or prostitution?

Seriously, if the NDC continues to brag that it is a Social Democratic Party that came for the poor, then it is important for Ghanaians to subject their members to psychiatric examination. For me, I could see that the party's interest lies in having many illiterates in Ghana so that they can easily buy their conscience during general elections. If not, why would they allow teachers to go on strike on regular basis; scrap teacher training allowances, ban teacher recruitment, increase admission/school fees abnormally, and limit student intake in both the secondary and tertiary levels of education?

Your guess is as good as mine!

God bless Ghana! God bless Ghanaian students!! God bless Kufuor!!!

Katakyie Kwame Opoku Agyemang, Asante Bekwai-Asakyiri