Politics

I won’t collapse free SHS as Akufo-Addo claims – Mahama

Former President John Mahama’s 2020 Campaign Team has described as “disinformation”, President Nana Akufo-Addo’s comments that Mr Mahama’s publicly-declared intention to review the Free Senior High School programme should he be re-elected in the 2020 polls on the ticket of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), can only amount to collapsing it.

In response to Mr Mahama’s comments which he made during his campaign tour of the Central Region, the president said: “I am alarmed by this concept of review. This is because any time our political opponents try anything of this sort, it leads the policy in question into coma. We all remember the NHIS one-term premium payment review pledge. Not only did the review not materialise, but they also succeeded in degrading the policy”.

Nana Akufo-Addo continued: “I honestly suspect reviewing the Free SHS policy means collapsing it. But, I doubt the Ghanaian people will allow this brilliant policy to be collapsed by anyone.”

In response to the president’s comments, Mr Mahama’s team, in a statement issued by his spokesperson James Agyenim-Boateng, said: “It is important to point out that at no point during former President Mahama’s address to the delegates did he mention that he would collapse the Free SHS programme. That President Akufo-Addo could only come to that conclusion is regrettable, to say the least”.

Mr Mahama’s team noted that: “It is important to point out that ‘collapse’ is not a synonym for ‘review’ and it is, therefore, mind-boggling that President Akufo-Addo could come to that conclusion”.

In any case, the statement added: “The call for review by former President Mahama is consistent with the recent pronouncement made publicly by Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta, who is on record as saying in a radio and television interview in Accra, that: ‘There must be changes in the way the policy is being administered in the future’. It is the considered view of former Mr Mahama that the challenges facing the implementation of Free SHS can be addressed, and he is committed to fixing that problem when elected in 2020”.

Read Mr Mahama’s team’s full statement:

I WILL STRENGTHEN FREE SHS THROUGH A REVIEW CONFERENCE — MAHAMA

The John Mahama 2020 Campaign Team has become aware of a deliberate campaign of disinformation led by President Nana Akufo-Addo following comments by former President John Dramani Mahama that he will convene a stakeholders forum to address the challenges facing the implementation of the Free Senior High School programme.

Addressing delegates in the Cape Coast North constituency in the Central Region last week, Mr Mahama pointed to his government’s record of investment in the education sector, particularly secondary education.

His government, he said, committed itself to widening access to secondary education, improving quality and making education affordable.

On Free Senior High School, Mr Mahama observed that in its present form, there are many challenges with its implementation, yet, “The government is not heeding to calls for a stakeholders review conference”.

He said further: “I believe that if Ghanaians come together, we can come out with a workable time table and schedule for implementing Free SHS”.

Mr Mahama then proceeded to announce that he would convene a stakeholders’ forum to review the policy when he is elected into office in the 2020 elections.

It is important to point out that at no point during former President Mahama’s address to the delegates did he mention that he would collapse the Free SHS programme. That President Akufo-Addo could only come to that conclusion is regrettable, to say the least.

It is important to point out that “collapse” is not a synonym for “review” and it is, therefore, mind-boggling that President Akufo-Addo could come to that conclusion.

In any case, the call for review by former President Mahama is consistent with the recent pronouncement made publicly by Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta, who is on record as saying in a radio and television interview in Accra, that: “There must be changes in the way the policy is being administered in the future”. It is the considered view of former Mr Mahama that the challenges facing the implementation of Free SHS can be addressed, and he is committed to fixing that problem when elected in 2020.

Mr Mahama is deeply committed to the pursuit of high quality secondary education and he will spare no effort in making Ghanaian students as competitive as students from elsewhere on the continent and beyond when he wins the 2020 elections.

JAMES AGYENIM-BOATENG

SPOKEPERSON

MONDAY, 1ST OCTOBER, 2018.
ACCRA.

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