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Opinions of Thursday, 25 July 2019

Columnist: K. Badu, UK

Why the Ghanaian youth will show gratitude

President Akufo-Addo President Akufo-Addo

The critics of the Akufo-Addo’s administration are well aware of the massive debt the Mahama government left behind, and hence have been wondering how and why any government could afford to implement and sustain the seemingly admirable, albeit the costly social intervention Free SHS.

There is no denying or ignoring the fact that the social mobility improvement Free SHS will at least provide a sound and congenial environment for the students to develop to their full potential and to have a reasonable chance of leading productive and creative lives.

Notwithstanding the incessant shrieking and grumbling, by the year 2020, the NDC operatives will take back their needless criticisms when all the three levels of the SHS become free.

In the meantime, the disputatious NDC brassbound followers can choose to travel the length and breadth of the country and discredit the Free SHS.

The fact of the matter, however, is that by the end of the 2019/2020 academic year, the students and their parents will show their gratitude to Akufo-Addo for his great sense of foresightedness.

Interestingly, credible sources have it that the students are extremely happy with the Akkufo-Addo’s government for implementing the poverty alleviation Free SHS.

However, the students who were denied free SHS under the erstwhile NDC administration had expressed their disappointments on various occasions.

The students indignation stemmed from the fact that, even though it was possible for the outgone NDC government to roll out the free SHS programme as done by the NPP government, Mahama’s government woefully failed to do so.

The students contend that if Mahama’s government had rolled out the programme a few years earlier, the vast majority of the Ghanaian youth would have enjoyed the Free SHS.

There you go. If the NDC operatives think they are fighting in the corner of the Ghanaian youth and their families by unfairly kept criticising the Free SHS implementation, they better watch out.

The fact remains that the students and their parents/guardians are extremely unhappy with the erstwhile Mahama government for letting them down.

In fact, I could not agree more with the aggrieved students and their parents/guardians for remitting their fury in condemnation, in the sense that if the NPP government can implement Free SHS within a short space of time, what then prevented the NDC government from rolling out the Free SHS in their eight years in office?

Since assuming office, the Akufo-Addo’s government has taken commendable strides with a view to improving the social mobility chasm. Indeed, the implementation of poverty reduction policies such as Free SHS, one district one factory, one million dollars per constituency, tax reductions, a dam per village in the northern part of Ghana, among others, will improve social mobility in the long run.

Given that education is crucial to the advancement of the nation, it is extremely important for discerning Ghanaians to give their full support to Akuffo-Addo’s well-thought through Free SHS policy.

Regrettably, however, it would appear that the minority NDC operatives are not supportive of the Free SHS implementation, judging from their pronouncements.

As a matter of fact, the minority NDC operatives have a penchant for shrilling, grouching and opposing for opposing sake.

If that was not the case, how could a supposedly responsible opposition keep on conspiring and playing down the associated benefits of the Free SHS?

It is, indeed, extremely difficult to comprehend how and why an opposition party whose main duty is to offer a credible opposition would only keep mounting platforms to discredit an important poverty intervention such as the Free SHS.

Some of us, as a matter of principle, cannot accept the minority NDC operatives somewhat spurious argument that the Free SHS implementation was not well-thought through.

Well, they may choose to criticise the policy, the fact however remains that the Free SHS will return huge benefits in the long run.

Indeed, the vast majority of Ghanaians will benefit immensely from the policy, including my maternal uncle, Oliver, a diehard NDC supporter, who had earlier criticised the apparent poverty alleviation Free SHS.

Despite my Uncle Oliver’s needless and never ending pessimism, he is on course to reap tremendous benefits and will most likely decline to endorse Mahama to come and cancel the policy.

The Akufo-Addo’s government will spend not less than GH5532.83 over a period of three years on each student.

So, my uncle, Oliver, who has three of his children in SHS, will be pocketing not less than GH16598.49 over three years.

Who can then persuade my maternal uncle to turn down such a juicy offer and vote for the unrepentant critic of the Free SHS who is set to abandon the policy?

Trust me, should the Free SHS beneficiaries make an unpardonable mistake and hand over the poverty alleviation free SHS policy back to the NDC government in the near future, the supposedly social democrats will gleefully revert the comprehensively free policy to their much touted ‘progressively free’ (whatever that means).