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Opinions of Friday, 30 November 2012

Columnist: Appiah-Osei, Lawrence

NPP’s Free SHS is a Weapon of Mass Destruction.

A weapon, like a gun kills one, two, or three people. At the most, a gun can kill 50 people but when a weapon is for mass destruction, it kills in the hundreds, thousands or sometimes in the millions. This is exactly what the Free Senior High School Education that Nana Akuffo-Addo is campaigning on will do to Ghana Education and Ghanaian children.
Some of us are against the Free SHS the NPP is preaching not because we don’t like education or Nana Akuffo-Addo. It is because we want Nana to spare our educational system any more deterioration. At the moment, I cannot say our educational system is the best for the country, but I sincerely believe that Free SHS is not the answer.
Nana Akuffo-Addo has on November 25, 2012 argued that if even President John Mahama benefitted from free SHS, why not poor families? The argument Nana put forward to support his point made me to believe that Nana does not know the Free SHS he and his communication team are talking about. That is why Nana keeps adding to the number of reasons for the Free SHS. I last counted as many as ten bogus reasons.
Listen, there is a very big difference between going to school for free and benefitting from it. President John Mahama, Dr. Bawumia, and the rest got their education at the high school for free. But have you asked yourself where the rest of their classmates are and what they are also doing? The fact that they got Free High School didn’t automatically make them benefit from it. One benefits from something if the use or acquisition of that thing becomes meaningful to the person. Dr. Bawumia and President John Mahama are who they are today, not because they went to high school for free, but it is because of their individual hard work. I am making this case clear because if you listen to Nana Akuffo-Addo, you will be deceived into thinking that as soon as Ghana gets Free SHS, all children and for that matter Ghana will be like heaven on earth or America. Almost all of the ‘Kayayei” are from the regions that have Free SHS. Have we ever done the analysis to find out why? Does that make Free SHS any better? I don’t think so.
The NPP’s Free Senior High School Education is a weapon of mass destruction, especially if you know how they are going to go handle it. Recently, the Deputy Communications Director of the NPP, Mr. Sammy Awuku said it on PeaceFm that, the NPP will gather people to look into the implementation of the Free SHS if they are voted into power. I don’t know if he was serious about that statement or he just said that to win some sympathy votes. In any case, none of the reasons for saying that is acceptable.
Let me tell Mr. Sammy Awuku and the rest of his people that we are talking of thousands of Ghanaian children who are going to be our future Presidents, Parliamentarians, Chief Executives, Accountants, Lawyers, and Engineers etc. Is he waiting to be voted into power before they decide the fate of all these thousands of children? I will never put the fate of my children in the hands of people who have not planned for their future. And so should you.
When Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and the CPP gave the Northern Region its first Free SHS, there was a 7-year Development plan in place for the implementation. Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and the CPP planned, and it was for only the Northern Region, but what is the plan from Nana Akuffo-Addo for the whole country? The Free SHS Dr. Bawumia and President John Mahama benefitted from, had a plan. It was a 7-year Development plan and it was debated on. When the debate was going on, Nana Akuffo-Addo’s father and his UP people were at the opposite side of the debate. They gave all sorts of nasty reasons why the people from the North should never have free education.
I stated earlier on that there is a big difference between going to Free SHS and benefitting from it. That boils down to QUALITY and FUNDING. As I write now, the NPP don’t know how it is going to cost a child with Free SHS for one year. I know this because the Communications Director of NPP, Nana Akomea said so on Radio Gold during an interview. I will argue that if the NPP don’t know how it is going to cost to send a child to Free SHS, then it can also be true that they don’t know the kind of Quality that comes with the Free SHS.
You see, if you don’t know how the future of your child is going to be PLANNED, please don’t go for it. The future of your child is going to be put before politicians, and I tell you, you can’t trust them. If they are planning for their children and their salaries, as for that they will do a fine job. If you don’t know the QUALITY of the education your child is going to get, please don’t allow anyone to deceive you into it. If you don’t know how it is going to COST the government to educate your child, please don’t fall for it. The government may later turn around and ask you to pay something little to support your child’s education. That “something little” can be more than the school fees and since the education is called “free,” you cannot complain.
Have we as Ghanaians sat down and thought why the “big schools” are going so well? It is because of the role the Parents Teachers Association (PTA) is playing. And do we know why the PTA has such a bigger role in the management of the schools? It is because they are paying so much for their children to have Quality education. Under Free SHS education, all such benefits would be gone. That’s what it is.

On December 7, 2012 vote for Affordable, Accessible, and Quality Education that the NDC is preaching. It is the best for you, your child and the country. The Free SHS the NPP is talking about is a Weapon of Mass Destruction. Let’s run away from it before it comes to kill our educational system where millions of the future of our children would be destroyed. Vote for President Mahama. Vote for a Better Ghana!!!

“The NPP left a big mess for the NDC. They think the NDC is not cleaning it fast enough and so they want to come back and continue with the same mess. Ghana is not going back again. Ghana is moving forward”

Lawrence Appiah-Osei
NDC USA Finance Secretary
Appiah65@Hotmail.com