Feature Article of Saturday, 1 December 2012

Columnist: Sarpong, Justice

President Mahama, Was Bishop Middle School A Sakawa?

“Because he wants power, he is preaching free education, but I say it is ‘sakawa’ and shouldn’t be trusted”, President Mahama said." Sakawa indeed. You know all the Sakawa deals in contracts and conning women.

President Mahama has been trying to find answers or excuses to counter the free secondary school education policy Nana Akuffo Addo is proposing he has become a pathological liar. Celebrating his 54th birthday and addressing students at the University of Cape Coast, he lied to them again by saying this;

"Meanwhile President Mahama has derided the New Patriotic Party’s free Senior High School promise stressing that Ghana’s education system could collapse if the policy is implemented now.He says other African countries such as Kenya and Botswana have reintroduced fee paying in their secondary schools after a free education policy nearly collapsed their secondary education system.“Countries like Botswana, Uganda, Kenya have implemented free SHS, today as I talk to you Botswana has announced a reintroduction of secondary school fees.“Kenya has appealed for international assistance to prevent their secondary school system from falling apart, a recent study done on free SHS in Kenya shows that it is running into major difficulties” President Mahama said.

Mr President Pessimist, we have had free education in the three Northern regions for more than fifty years and you came out of that system well educated enough to be asking us to make you the President of this country. The failed system you are talking about in Kenya, Uganda and Malawi all have literacy levels better than Ghana.

Folks, that is a lie and an extensive search on line and talking to some Kenyans have revealed that, the so called reintroduction of fees paying in secondary schools is a figment of imagination in the head of Mahama who enjoyed free secondary school as a Northerner but has derided the system of it not being of quality. What Kenya and Malawi system stipulates is that, those who choose to attend private schools will not be covered and this is in line with all countries that offers free education to the secondary school level and this has been the rule since the inception of the free SHS education in Kenya and Malawi and it will be the same in Ghana.

He has also predicted the NPP’s free Senior High School education policy will suffer the same setback as it happened in Kenya and Uganda, because they adopted that system Addressing a rally at Okere in the Eastern Region however, President Mahama said for lack of adequate planning and the rush to adopt this policy, those countries are now calling for support from other countries.

MAHAMA is being economical with the truth. Kenya, Uganda and Malawi because of free secondary school have a higher literacy rate than Ghana despite the fact that we gained Independence before the three countries and we have more natural resources than these countries.

What is wrong if these countries need help from outside? What help is Mahama talking about? That Kenya needs 80,000 Teachers as reported recently in the forum and they need more infrastructure for their schools? Does these problems in Kenya have to prevent us from implementing the free secondary school education system in Ghana? Mahama can call these PROBLEMS but I call them CHALLENGES and OPPORTUNITIES. Let assume we go ahead adopt free SHS and will need 80,000 Teachers in Ghana. Is that not an opportunity to solve some of our unemployment needs? We have University graduates walking the streets of Ghana and if we have vacancies for Teachers, can we employ these graduates to teach while we train more Teachers at our University at Winneba and maybe the planned University in Eastern Region? The University graduates though majority of them not trained as Teachers can still teach because not long ago, we used to have Form Four SchoolLeavers teaching at our Primary schools and as late as 1990, we used to have Sixth Formers, "A" level graduates teaching at our Secondary schools. The free secondary school can be an avenue to craete an auxilliary 100,000 employment apart from the Teachers we will need so why is this a problem?

In most companies in United states, the word PROBLEM is losing its steam and rather Americans see what we call PROBLEMS as CHALLENGES and OPPORTUNITIES because they see the negative aspect of the word PROBLEM as an excuse to give up easily instead of finding solutions and this 'Mr I was born after the Ghana Independence and therefore I am the modern man Mahama' is still steeped in the old ways of doing things by finding easy way out of a situations instead of addressing them. If this is the way this man believes, can we trust him to introduce free SHS education in 2016 as he has promised?

From the late seventies to the late eighties when some states in Nigeria adopted the free secondary school program, Ghanaian Teachers poured into Nigeria to fill the jobs created in the teaching field and we can do the same in Ghana.

The infrastructure problems can be reduced drastically if we plan in such a way that, most of the new secondary schools are initially made as day secondary schools and only classroom, library and Teachers offices and housing are needed. Folks, there is nothing wrong to just have day secondary schools because Technology Secondary school at KNUST used to be a day secondary school and it produced the same graduating percentages as the Opoku Ware's and the Prempeh College's in Kumasi. I think even Accra high secondary school used to be a day secondary too.

We pay school fees and we still get help from outside the country for our schools so what is wrong if Kenya needs help from outside Kenya? Anybody can research, compare and contrast the educations in all the countries mentioned and you can come to the same conclusion that, our education lags behind these countries that offer free SHS, that is a fact. The literacy rate in Kenya, Malawi and Uganda are higher than that in Ghana and their living standards, especially in Kenya and Uganda is higher than that of Ghana and it is because of their literacy level that has leapflogged them over Ghana in our standard of living.

List of Countries with the Highest Literacy Rates in Africaview as and their rank on the continent of Africa

Kenya rate of literacy is 85.10%-4




This is really a disgrace for a country like Ghana that prides itself as the first country to receive Independence in Sahara Africa to be ranked 33 amongst the 53 African countries. Something drastic needs to be done to bring our literacy level amongst the top 5 African countries and it is time to stop these negative thinking Pessimists like Mahama and his Party.

According to President Mahama, we cannot have free education because we don't have money for the needed infrastructure but we have 1.4 billion dollars to buy 400,000 computers for University students. Even no rich nation on God Green Earth provides free laptop computers to students.We have to get our priorities set right instead of using education as a political football to win votes.

What is really wrong with MAHAMA? Seriously, there is something really wrong with this man. It has even come out that the so called distributed computers are lies like the 1.6 million jobs created and the 1,775 schools under trees eliminated that has been found to be untrue. He has distributed computers to students at Universities that don't even exist, like the College of education at Sunyani which exist in Mars but got 100 computers for ghost students whose names were lifted from Osu Cemetry. Another university supposed to have received computers, Pentecost University has denied ever receiving the so called computers for any of its students.

Was Mahama's free education at Bishop Middle school and Ghana secondary school a SAKAWA as he puts it? Bishop Middle school might have been a SAKAWA to Mahama because we can't find it on his RESUME(CV) and neither can we find it in his book, 'My First Coup d'tat'. It was Sakawa alright because you left or was dismissed after you and your friends sexually molested a girl from that school that you have failed to address.

Justice Sarpong

Houston, Texas