Prez ought to know free SHS is not his personal property- NDC MP

According to a Deputy Ranking Member on Parliament’s Education Committee, the president’s indication for a broader conversation on the need for a review of free SHS is encouraging and should result in a better programme that maximises dividends.

Dr. Clement Apaak asserted that the challenges confronting the policy he mentioned are no longer hidden and that the president should be aware that, while the free SHS was born out of a partisan political campaign, whether it was progressive or how he implemented it, it is not his personal property.

He stated that it is for this reason that some people, including former President John Mahama and Minority MPs, have called for the review.

He contended that those who called for the review were not anti-policy, but were steadfast in their opposition to the policy’s challenges.

Dr. Apaak explained that a review of the entire policy, not just the ability or inability to pay, was required.

The policy’s challenges extend beyond funding, he declared, adding that we don’t want to specify which aspect of the policy needs to be reviewed. It must be a comprehensive evaluation of the programme so that we can chart a course forward collectively.

The Builsa South MP went on to say that the president has been deceptive and has deliberately distorted the NDC’s position.

He stated that for a president to purposefully interpret a review as a cancellation is very telling.

He emphasised that Mr. Mahama and the NDC have consistently stated that they will call for a broader stakeholder conversation to discuss the policy’s implementation challenges.

On the question of what should be changed, he stated that the NDC did not want to impose anything on the president, but that its 2020 manifesto was clear on what needed to be done.

He recalled the NDC called for a change in the feeding arrangement with a decentralised system without the involvement of Buffer Stock, with the heads of schools working in collaboration with local teams to procure the necessary food.

He added that the NDC had discussed restoring the Parent and Teacher Associations to their traditional roles, as well as bringing in private schools to supplement the programme.

Dr. Apaak continued, “We have discussed looking at a sustainable way of sustaining the programme as well as increasing physical infrastructure.”

“So our position is not a secret. But we don’t want to impose it and that is why we were calling for a national stakeholders forum in the manner in which the president has recouched as a national conversation. So it is out of the national conversation that stakeholders will present their ideas and together we will have a consensus on the way forward. Now that he’s given the signal, he was the one holding back. He should instruct the Minister for Education to initiate the processes toward actualising the national conversation. That is what we are calling for.”

By: Rashid Obodai Provencal/

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