Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) has stood its ground that the free Senior High School promise by party flagbearer Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is feasible in the face of a raging debate over the subject.

In a statement on the issue, Nana Akomea, Communications Director of the party, restated unequivocally that the project was feasible, in contrast to what was being bandied around by pessimists.

Nana Akufo-Addo’s pledge of free secondary education for Ghanaian school children, the statement noted, “is a solemn pledge to the people of Ghana.  With the committed leadership, Nana Akufo-Addo will provide; it shall surely come to pass.”

There had been a renewed interest in the policy pledge of Nana Akufo-Addo regarding Senior High School, he stated, pointing out that the flag-bearer pledged to extend Basic School to SHS level, so that every Ghanaian child would be guaranteed secondary school education.

In order that a parent’s circumstance was not a hindrance to the child’s education, Nana Addo proposed fee-free SHS, the benefits of which policy, he added, could not be doubted. 

The issue came up during his recent interview on the BBC. 

Nana Addo insisted that the policy was so fundamental that he would prefer to lay the parameters including the costing and the finance, formally before the Ghanaian people.

Therefore, all the talk about the policy’s feasibility or not is premature, as Nana Addo and the NPP is yet to lay the details. 

One independent estimate from Imani Ghana, he said, put the costs at about $350m a year. The question that arose, Nana Akomea said, was “whether or not oil producing Ghana cannot afford $350m a year to ensure every Ghanaian child gets secondary school education?”

The New Patriotic Party, Nana Akomea said, had the track record of introducing the seminal National Health Insurance in 2003/4, adding, “This country has also maintained free education policy for the three northern regions for over 50 years.”

He noted that by the time details about the project were laid out, “we are confident that when the details of the nationwide free SHS policy are announced, Ghanaians shall surely appreciate that it is feasible.”

Vice President John Mahama had doubted the policy, saying that the magical figures being bandied about as cost for the implementation of the policy was hurriedly done and not well thought through.

It is not the first time John Mahama is doubting such a policy from the NPP.

In 2008, when Nana Addo said he was going to establish Northern Development Fund with a seed capital of $1billion, he said it was not possible, only to turn round with Savannah Development Authority (SADA), with a promise of GH¢200million seed capital and annual payment of GH¢100million.

But four years into the Mills-Mahama administration, SADA can barely boast of GH¢20million.

By A.R. Gomda

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