Bawumia fires Mahama: ‘You can’t trust him with free SHS’

Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has waged rambling attacks on the flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), insisting that former President John Mahama cannot be trusted with the free Senior High School (SHS) education policy.

“John Mahama said the free SHS was not possible or that he will not spend money on it. NDC said it was 419.

“You heard them say it, and today, they want us to give the country to them to handle free SHS.

“Can we trust free SHS with them? Can we give them the free SHS to manage?” he asked an applauding crowd of supporters who responded  “Noooooo”.

He continued. “They have zero credibility when it comes to free SHS. They never believed it in the first place. [It is] Nana Akufo-Addo who believed in it, dreamt about it and is implementing it for the benefit of all of us.”

Ahead of the 2016 election, the free SHS policy was the NPP’s flagship programme for education. The NDC, on the other hand, touted a progressively free SHS policy as an alternative.

Before they were tossed out of power, the Mahama administration had made education partially free for day students, insisting that the country needed to increase its educational infrastructure before boarding students could be roped in.

With Akufo-Addo winning the 2016 elections, it introduced the free SHS policy with at least 1.2 million students estimated to have benefitted from the policy since September 2017. 

But Mr Mahama has criticised the implementation of the policy and promised to review it. The NDC manifesto promised to abolish the double-track system. Unlike the single-track system, the new system divides the entire student’s body and staff into two different tracks– gold and green. This means that while one track is in school, the other is on vacation. 

The policy underpinning was that ‘no qualified child should be left behind’.

According to the Ghana Education Service 2018 projections, there is the need to create 181,993 extra spaces to accommodate the high number of students projected to enrol in senior high schools in the 2018/19 academic year.

Dr Bawumia also took on the former President’s track record in infrastructure in the five regions of the north, describing it as abysmal.

Speaking at a durbar in the Jirapa District of the Upper West Region, he said the NDC left empty coffers that could not fund what he described as the monumental projects of the Akufo-Addo administration.

“There is a big difference between the economy that John Mahama used to manage and the economy that Nana Akufo-Addo is managing.  The economy of John Mahama could not afford GH₵ 70 million for the  nursing trainees, NABCO, reduced electricity bill, BECE exams, WASSCE exams, free water, free electricity …”

“There is a clear difference,” he told the cheering crowd of flag-waving party supporters. 


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