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Opinions of Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Columnist: Abdallah Abdul Matin

Government deserves 'thank you demo' for implementation of Free SHS policy

In the twenty years of the favour of my God to live and to gather a wealth of life experience, I have come to real terms with the life's gospel that ' All truths pass through three stages.

First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.'

When the NPP announced their intention to roll out a FREESHS policy to the Ghanaian populace when elected, naysayers, pessimists and political adversaries notably the NDC ridiculed the idea by laughing it off as a campaign gimmick; that failed.

They opposed it by sponsoring campaign adverts against it; that failed as well. Today, when it has become self-evident, every Ghanaian child, placed by the computerised placement system, would enjoy free secondary education.

It would not be out of place at all, though bizarre as it may seem, to organise a 'thank you demo' geared at congratulating Mr. President, the sector Minister and all officials who worked to make this laudable dream a reality and for putting the future of Ghana first.

The government has mustered a rare effrontery despite the opposing tide of cynicism to implement this commendable initiative. It is this courage and gut to experiment that has long been in a short supply in the corridors of power of Ghana.

The government has apparently personified the strong traits of courage, "can do it" spirit and experimentation. The government symbolises these uncommon values and has made same its hallmark.

It is evident in all the government's flagship programs. Talk about One district-One Factory, One Village-One Dam, One District-One Warehouse and Planting for Food and Jobs policies.

These policies, when realisation with the unalloyed support of the Ghanaian people, will go down in our history books as the greatest exponential transformation in Ghana's modern governance. All these policies will conspire to affect positively the life of the ordinary Ghanaian.



A century ago, the world for the life of it treated with contempt the narrative that man will ever touch down on the surface of the moon. The Americans harboured the self -belief, believe-in-God and maintained that it was possible.

Lo and behold, to the shock of the world Neil Armstrong landed on the surface of the moon in the 1960's. That is the strong character the government seemingly mirrors.

Free SHS will be inked as the second most significant social intervention policy after NHIS in our modern history. Expectedly, Free SHS being a new experience has been fraught with numerous, and teething innate challenges. This is symptomatic of policy formulation and implementation.

In policy implementation, the challenges are preliminarily anticipated and measures devised to surmount same as they emerge but other unforeseen challenges become rearing in the implementation proper. It is therefore appropriate to design antidotes to quickly heal the wounds that will be inflicted.

Many are those who have rightly expressed misgivings regarding the revenue stream for the funding and sustenance of the policy. I, to a large extent share this sentiments. The Free SHS is a life saving program and on the basis of this, must be hinged on a trusty financial life support.

The Nana Addo led administration should hurriedly craft and fastened the infant policy to an alternative and a rather reliable revenue stream. Be it the 19.7% of the ABFA or the heritage fund component of the oil revenue, education for the Ghanaian child is simply non-negotiable.

The Free SHS program, by and large, is the boldest step so far towards removing the barriers to education and at building a financially delimited access to education.

It comes to salvage the Ghanaians who walk the tortous path to access their right to education as expressly enshrined in Article 25 of the Fourth Republican Constitution.

The program sets the tone for a radical decommodification and de-commercialisation of the Right to Education. It also erases the narrative from our society that being intelligent is not good enough when you are poor. The government should not wait for its stone but a 'Thank You Demo'.