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Opinions of Monday, 21 August 2017

Columnist: Patrick Oppong-Sekyere

Free Senior High school policy; a repeat of mistakes from the past

Every policy has got it pros and cons and it is not always the results that must justify the means but the means must as well justify the results.

A good policy isn't one that will provide heaven and earth for a people but one that can be sustained at all levels come rain or shine.

At the global level, we have got Sustainable Development Goals which are seventeen in number. The word Sustainable is there to help make sure the development goals don't just exist but should be one that can be sustained or kept on track.

In 2003, the President Kuffour led government constituted the National Health insurance policy and constituted the Free health maternal care in 2005. Today, let's take a minute and ask ourselves how far have these policies and come and how are they faring now...... Are they on both legs, on one leg or crawling.

It is sad to note that both policies had a good intention but improper systems had contributed in making them shaky and a worry to the national purse as a whole.

What were some of the challenges that arose with the implementation of the above policies? Did we create indicators to be checking the policies? Was enough research done to know where and how funds will be generated to sustain it? Did we ever thought of ten (10) years from 2003 and 2005 respectively?

Free maternal healthcare took a nose dive somewhere in 2011 when we had the highest GDP for some years now......it is still yet to find itself up from the fall it took as it has been crawling. Someone will it was due to change of power but I will tell you if systems and indicators were set to govern them we won't be where we are.

Free Senior High school policy is a good one looking at the fact we have to be able to give quality and accessible education to the children of our dear nation. But the question is "is it the most pressing need?" as my good friend Prince Kingsley Afedo asked some days ago.

He believes "everyone has got needs but are we saying as a country this is our most pressing need? Must this start working now and then because it was a campaign message without considering the economic fate of our dear nation." My good friend quizzed.

We live in a country where India as a nation must give a grant of $1m for the renovation of our own Flagstaff house then the question is how do we intend sustaining Free senior high school in twenty (20) years to come? National health insurance scheme that receives a cut from VAT& NHIL Returns filed and a token paid directly by citizens is still struggling not to talk of the crawling free maternity care.

I believe we need systems and action plans working in our educational sector at the moment than free senior high school..... I don't want to see this failing in the nearby future and schools closing down due to unpaid arrears to schools and so on.

This policy is like a sniper waiting to shoot the next person to walk at the door..... If it fails at a point our education system will lose it quality and that is what we should be looking at critically.

I will caution, we should never wait as a country to make some mistakes.... This is our education system and it must be done well. Sustainability is the core duty, not the implementation.

We do not need free senior high school policy to have quality and accessible education but rather systems to work within the educational sector..... Making sure teachers are motivated, school fees subsidized, educational reforms, etc must be the order of the day.

We have come a long way with our education system and the two policies that have shaken the health sector for more than a decade now must be enough to make us know what befalls our educational system should things begin failing which we hope not but caution must prevail.