Former President John Dramani Mahama, who is also the flagbearer of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), has stated that he introduced the Free Senior High School (SHS)educational policy in the Fourth Republic, stressing that he had never objected to the constitutionally-backed educational policy.
“I launched Free SHS in 2015, and the record is there. Our constitution directs us to introduce it progressively,” he said, adding that from 2015-2016, he commissioned new secondary schools numbering 43 across Ghana.
According to the NDC flagbearer, the politics about Free SHS prior to the 2016 General Elections were not about whether Ghana should roll out the Free SHS or not. To him, it was about the approach, and that the constitution demands a progressive drive.
Former President John Dramani Mahama was speaking on Kumasi-based Abusua FM which was monitored by The Chronicle.
The assertion of Mr John Mahama about the Free SHS follows a series of statements he made about the exclusion of private schools from the programme.
The former head of state was emphatic that the private SHSs should be included in the programme because some of them have the same capacity as that of the government schools.
“A private SHS may be serving a particular catchment area; the next SHS is some distance away, so if we want to end double track, we have to add private schools into the Free SHS policy,” he said.
Fighting back assertions that he (John Dramani Mahama) does not support the Free SHS, he responded that he had never condemned the policy, and challenged the Ghanaian media to find his voice where he denounced the Free SHS.“I have never said Free SHS cannot be achieved, never, no. I challenge all the media in Ghana to find my voice saying that Free SHS cannot be implemented in Ghana.”
Mahama noted that he had foreknowledge about the shortcomings the Free SHS policy was experiencing today, that is why they [NDC] started building senior high schools across Ghana in an attempt to contain overcrowding.
John Mahama further explained that the NDC knew that at the mention of Free SHS, students’ enrolment would increase, so they had to build these schools for the children to have access to education.