Feature Article of Friday, 16 November 2012

Columnist: Sarpong, Justice

Free Education Is Bad, Let's Even Stop It From K... To JSS

The NDC Presidential candidate and its vociferous talking heads are having a torrid time explaining why free secondary school education in Ghana cannot be available for everybody the excuses they are coming up with are just laughable and ridiculous.First they said we don't have the strutures in place to make it available. Now they are saying free is bad because everything free is bad having bought Chinese school clothes for some of our children for free I looked up for the meaning of free in the dictionary and I didn't see anywhere that free equates inferior quality but this is the definition of free that I found;

"to relieve or rid (usually followed by of ): to free oneself of responsibility.make free with, a. to use as one's own; help oneself"

Since NDC has given a different meaning to the word free as meaning INFERIOR, let's exorcise the free education system as proposed in the constitution and start paying fees from Kindergaten to the University level. If free is inferior, why are we trying to make secondary school education 'progressively free'? Does progressively free makes the quality better? Did we make free education from Kindergarten to Junior High School(JHS) progressively free? Lets start paying school fees for all levels in our educational system if free means inferior.Presiden Mahama campaigning in Hwisiem in Brong/Ahafo region said this;

"President John Dramani Mahama is cautioning electorates against the free Senior High School promise of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) ahead of the December polls.According to the President, the free SHS promise is a careless campaign message meant only for the purpose of votes in the December polls.He said the constitution already provides that governments are supposed to make education progressively free as and when the resources of the nation can cover the cost."

What are you telling the people of Hwidiem, Akans? Are you still preaching your tribal politics there telling them Akans have to vote for you because it is the turn of a Northerner to become President? Was Limann a Watchman? Courtesy of my sister Akadu Mensemah.

Now I have some few questions for President Mahama and his acolytes who are fighting tooth and nail to prevent free secondary school education for the poor Southerners whose children are now selling ice water, shining shoes, fishing and other trades and are exposed to vigrants of the environment at this stage of their lives when they should be in school to answer some few queations.

Mr President,did you not have free secondary school education as a Northerner 40 years ago?

Was it not quality?

Mr President, when you and your eighteen(18) siblings were receiving it for free more than 30 years ago despite your father being one of the richest men in Ghana according to you in your book of having six private cars in 1966, you did not see it as of inferior quality, so why now?

Did it not improve your opportunity to become President?

When will progressively available be available?

Did you tell the Northerners during your campaign there that the free education they are still receiving 55 years after independence is not a good quality and they should agitate to pay fees to get a good quality education?

Is Mahamar saying that the free basic education we have to JHS level is not a good quality?

If free education to secondary school will not be a good quality, why did the framers of the constitution insert it in the constitution in the first place?

Was it the framers intention to 'pregressively' give us an inferior education?

SHS is free in Kenya, Uganda, Malawi and some states in Nigeria, are we saying we have quality education than these countries?

Mr President, you initially said secondary school education can be free in twenty years time, that is 2032 but you later within one month said it can be free in 2016, sixteen years cut off withing weeks, what happened within a month for 16 years to vanish from your initial suggestion?

You improved the situation so much in one month 16 years was no more needed to bring free shs to all?

Mr President, are you willing and not lily-livered to tell your brothers and sisters in the North that you want them to start paying school fees so that they can enjoy quality education as exist in the Southern part of Ghana?

If free secondary school education is inferior, then why are we 'discriminating' against Northerners by giving it to them?

If Free education to the Northerners are inferior, how come we have three Northerners as Presidential candidates and why are the Northerners not rejecting the so called inferior education.

I know others have some pertinent questions regarding the free secondary school issue, the Moderator or Moderators of the upcoming Presidential debate on November 20th should surmount cojones and ask some of these questions as I have enumerated here and maybe Mr President Mahama can explain himself better because I don't believe the cock and bull execuses like free education is of inferior quality, we don't have structures in place and other simplistic execuses just to scare Ghanaians for voting for free education.

When President Nkrumah made education free in the North, there was only one Middle school in the North and no secondary school and definitely no infrastructure in place but he went ahead and implemented it.

My understanding is that, the two new Universities the NDC is trumpeting as a policy success are about to have matriculation without the needed structures in place and we can call the two Universities as University under trees but it did not stop Mr President and his 'yawa' NDC honchos from opening them.

The time for free education for all Ghanaians to the secondary level is now and not 'progressively available' whatever that means. We cannot live in a country fifty five years after Independence where one end of the country is enjoying free education and the other end with poor people than some of the Northerners are forced to pay fees, this is not right and it is time to share the national cake equally amongst all the citizens.


Justice Sarpong

Houston, Texas