The National Chairman of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Samuel Ofosu Ampofo says about 400,000 day students benefited from former President John Dramani Mahama’s progressively free Senior High School programme.
According to him, Mr. Mahama’s free SHS programme was being implemented in a more prudent way that focused on improving learning outcomes.
Mr. Ofosu Ampofo speaking in an interview on Ekosii sen on Asempa FM on Wednesday, November 11, 2020, said former President Mahama had plans to extend the programme to boarding students as well.
“Mahama started implementing the Free SHS policy with the day students and about 400,000 day students benefited from it. He also had plans to expand the next phase to include the boarding students and that was the process Mahama was working with. That is why he started building the E-blocks to accommodate the numbers.”
“At the time President Mills became President in 2009, President Kufuor had started the four year SHS which made us have a double stream of final year students and President Mills used one year to expand all secondary schools to contain the numbers.”
He, however, said Ghanaians should punish the Akufo-Addo government in the upcoming 2020 presidential polls for not being sincere with Ghanaians.
“They have not been sincere with the people of this country, and they have toyed with the education of Ghana because they abandoned all the completed e-blocks Mahama built before leaving office in 2017.”
Mahama government started free SHS but focused on improving quality
Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, NDC’s running mate for the 2020 election had earlier said the erstwhile NDC government started the free SHS programme.
She said the previous government invesedt in expanding infrastructure and provision of needed facilities to improve upon the quality of education as it looked at getting more students enrolled.
She indicated that the Akufo-Addo government’s “full scale” approach to free SHS was problematic.
“Our approach was to look at the needy students, the students who would otherwise not go [to school]. Our concept was to reach the vulnerable, to bring the school as close to the doorstep of the learners as possible and to make sure that those schools were of high quality.”
“That is why we put in the labs, that is why we stocked the libraries, that is why we set up proper offices for the headmasters and teachers. They were all very important,” she said.
The free Senior High School programme has become a highly controversial subject in Ghana’s politics after the New Patriotic Party (NPP), while in opposition, touted it as its major campaign promise for the 2012 and 2016 elections.
The programme ensures that all Senior High School students in public schools in Ghana go to school at no cost, but the NDC has also claimed that it started the programme but approached it systematically by putting in place infrastructure and making education free for day students.