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Opinions of Tuesday, 25 August 2020

Columnist: Conduah Baba

NPP manifesto is empty on improving tertiary education

President  Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo holding a copy of the NPP's 2020 Manifesto President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo holding a copy of the NPP's 2020 Manifesto

The rush-launched of manifesto by the ruling New Patriotic Party cast doubt in the minds of people in the educational sector especially the tertiary. The performance of New Patriotic Party in the educational sector in view of the larger economy is the worst record in the country. Comparing and contrasting educational performance in relationship to other governments in the past and present, Nana Addo led NPP government come no way President John Dramani Mahama.

Education plays a major rule in the development of human resource capacity of every country. Apart from awkward implementation of the Free Senior High School policy, the president Nana Addo led government has nothing to show most especially at the tertiary level of the education.

The Nana Addo led government knee-jerking approach to management of tertiary institutions leave much to be desired. The NPP government tried everything possible to insert treacherous JB Danquah into the educational curriculum at the basic level and have marginally succeeded temporarily.

It is significant to remind readers that the only achievement this ruling government have had in the tertiary is the renaming of already existing institutions to the party stalwarts as if they were the only people who have done something incomparable to others.

The attempt to rename the University of Ghana-Legon was greeted with ‘hurricane backlash’ by the cross section of the media. Had it not be because people who matter most in the handling of Legon in the past have spoken their mind by deflating the President Akufo Addo assertion that his uncle JB Danquah contributed to the current state of the University of Ghana, probably Ghanaians would have been struggling to pronounce some name other than what everyone knows and prefers.

What a shame? Nevertheless, strangely President Nana Addo and Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia have succeeded in registering their names in the darkness part of Ghanaians mind due to lack of vision in handling tertiary institutions in the country.

In view of the manifesto presented to Ghanaians seeking a second mandate, it important to interrogate how the NPP intends to handle issues of tertiary education. Before delving into real issues, let it be understand that the Akufo Addo graduates’ will be disastrous to the future of this country.

The reason being that an attempt to score a political point with the flash program leading to the 2016, the ruling party hurriedly implemented the FSHS program despite their own core party members raising objective criticises of the policy.

The likes of former chief Justice Sophia Akufo, Dr Addo Kufuor, Professor Ivan Addae Mensah, former Vice Chancellor of University of Ghana-Legon and Hon Ken Ofori Atta, the current Minister of Finance are all on record to question the implementation mode of the program.

The FSHS for votes for NPP in the ongoing West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE) is engulf with ‘aporpreneuer’ engineered by the Central Government with the hope to use the performance statistics to advance a case.

The quality of Ghana’s education at the senior high level have been compromise with mediocrity and quantity as against quality. Leaking of final examination questions could not be said to new in the assessment model but the rate at which every subject questions dangling in the social media present such pictorial view of the kind of future leaders we would have very soon.

In the entire manifesto recently launched by the president Nana Addo and Dr Bawumia, the aspect of tertiary education in the document only seek to make a case for disappointed Akufo Addo graduates’ for admission into universities for mere increase in enrolment. The issue of infrastructure and human capacity building were completely missing. There is no any attempt to build public universities in the newly created regions. From pages 154 -155 where the NPP dealt with issues of education has this say “…of public tertiary institutions to support the expected increases in student population from the Free SHS graduates.”

Clearly, they NPP has once again exposed themselves for helping to churn out human resources lacking credibility to ensure sustainability of Ghana’s development. This was when the president Addo led government has sent past questions to the students and went further to assure them that those questions will certainly drop. The disappointment in that was clear when the Akufo Addo graduates’ resorted to violence as the name depicted the forbearer. “Make sure no student who has obtained admission to a tertiary institution is denied access because they are unable to pay fees. We will provide all such students, with the exception of teacher and nurse trainees who are paid allowances, an option to obtain a student loan:”

For sure, the manifesto is empty when it comes the growth in terms of human resources and infrastructural-driven goals. There is no any efforts to distribute the national resources fairly across the country. The principle of directive in Ghana’s constitution require fair sharing of the national cake. Therefore, NPP is not ready to help build the country universally. The best option certainly is the former president John Dramani Mahama to come back and ensure building of universities in the newly created regions.