Former President John Dramani Mahama has expressed concern about the investment of GH¢2 billion by the government in Senior High School (SHS) (Free Senior High School) alone in the second semester to the detriment of other sectors of the economy.
He described the over-concentration of funds on the SHS, in defiance of wise counsel from the academia and stakeholders, as a move that had the tendency to negatively affect education and collapse the sector.
President Mahama was addressing a packed audience of lecturers and students of the University of Cape Coast (UCC) on “the State of Education in Ghana Today” last Thursday.
The occasion was also graced by National Democratic Congress (NDC) stalwarts such as the National Chairman, Mr Samuel Ofosu Ampofo; former Chief of Staff, Mr Julius Debrah; former Security Coordinator, Mr Kofi Totobi Quakye, as well as party executives and faithful.
Ad hoc approach
President Mahama said taking cognisance of the importance of education to the nation’s socio-economic development and the dictates of the 1992 Constitution, his government decided to take all segments of education seriously, adding that the current “ad hoc approach to education will collapse the system”.
He said the populist and not-thought-through policy of the government had “depleted the GETFund of all funds”, thereby mounting intense pressure on other sectors of education.
“The huge influx of pupils into the SHS and the tertiary institutions, as a result of not preparing adequately, will invariably affect the development of those areas,” he added.
In view of such developments, former President Mahama said he would, in consultation with all stakeholders, review the Free SHS policy within three months when voted again into power.
“When I become President, in the first to three months, we will hold stakeholder, roundtable discussions and come up with a consensus, so we will not toy with the future of the country,” he said.
On ending the double track in September as announced by the government, Mr Mahama expressed his reservations about the fruition of that announcement, since the actions on the ground did not support that claim.
Public Universities Bill
Commenting on the Public Universities Bill, a senior lecturer at the UCC, Professor Vincent Yankah, described the bill as a “lazy man’s approach to solving educational problems. Besides, most parts of the bill have been rehashed and plagiarised”.
He said whatever happened in the universities would have future ramifications, adding that “we must prepare and secure our future”.
The Director of the Centre for Guidance and Counselling, UCC, Prof. Godwin Awabil, who is also a professor of Education, said the quality of education in the country was on the decline due to the government’s haphazard policies.