The battle for the soul of the Free Senior High School has reached its peak with Vice President Dr. Mahumudu Bawumia entering the ring to box out the National Democratic Congress over its claims that they first implemented the program.
Barely five hours after the National Democratic Congress held a press conference to justify why they deserve credit for the institution of the policy, Bawumia has at a forum hit back.
Armed with videos and media publications from 2015, the Director of Communications of the NDC, Sammy Gyamfi maintained that it is the NDC that ought to be praised for relieving parents of the burden of paying fees.
“So why is President Akufo-Addo feigning ignorance or why is he trying to create the impression he has forgotten about the fact that he himself applauded President Mahama for commencing the implementation of free SHS? The fact once again has exposed him…”
Touching on the history of free SHS, Mr Gyamfi recalled: “President Mahama launched the programme in 2015 and started with 350,000-day students.
“Not just that, in fact, the textbooks that secondary schools today are using under the free SHS programme were all procured by the Mahama administration in 2016 and they were 3.6 million textbooks.
“The free implementation of the free SHS including boarding students has been made possible as a result of the over 46 community day senior high schools that John Dramani Mahama built but for which we would have experienced a quadruple track and not the double-track by this time,” he added.
But Bawumia is perplexed by the NDC’s strive to claim ownership of a policy he thinks was implemented by the Akufo-Addo government.
Reacting to the NDC, Bawumia said that the opposition party might be wallowing in confusion to assume that they implemented the program.
“They said it was a hoax, a 419 promise. They said if he had GH¢2billion they would not spend it on free SHS. They said free SHS would collapse the education system.
“The NDC run over 40 adverts against free SHS. But the visionary Nana Akufo-Addo stuck to his guns and has successfully implemented the free SHS policy. Today, the NDC is saying they started free SHS! “Awurade Nyankopon!” he added.
Bawumia said that the government has invested GH¢3.2 billion in the programme and will continue to improve it.
“So far, we have invested over GH¢3.2 billion to implement free SHS, resulting in over 1.2 million teenagers being in secondary school now, looking forward to better opportunities in life.”
“For their parents and families, this has translated into GH¢2.2 billion in savings. That is money that the state has put back into the pockets of Ghanaians all across the country.”