Matthew Opoku Prempeh, the Minister of Education, has told former President John Dramani Mahama that he cannot claim ownership of the Free Senior High School program, as the Progressive Free Senior High School Policy his government implemented differs in scope and size from what has been executed by the Akufo-Addo administration.
Matthew Opoku Prempeh said on Asempa FM that while Mahama’s program absolved some components of the billing, Akufo-Addo’s version of Free SHS caters for everything.
He said the program executed by the Mahama administration can best be described as a scholarship scheme and not a completely free education policy for students in second cycle institutions.
Napo averred that the previous government left huge debts in the education sector which had to be settled by the Akufo-Addo administration.
“The NDC’s Free SHS is like China Kente. The NDC was giving each student GH¢48. What they did is a scholarship because the government looked at the bill and removed some of the things. He (Mahama) bragged in Parliament that he had budgeted for the schools but he couldn’t pay. His government left debts that I had to pay.”
“The budget releases and actuals didn’t meet. Our policy covers everything. 65, 000 technical and vocational students have also benefited. If it was not for lies and dishonesty, Mahama wouldn’t have claimed ownership of Free SHS. Even GH¢48 he couldn’t pay. Theirs was for day students but under Nana Addo, everyone is enjoying. Textbooks were not part, feeding was not but Nana Addo is giving these things for free,” Napo said.
The NDC at a press conference held last week argued why it deserves to be credited for implementing the Free SHS policy.
Armed with videos and media publications, Sammy Gyamfi, the Director of Communications of the NDC explained why the party ought to be credited for the program.
“It doesn’t matter the number of lies that the NPP tells, the facts show that it was indeed President Mahama who launched the program (starting) with 360,000-day students,” the National Communications Officer for the party, Sammy Gyamfi said at the briefing.
“The NPP in the past few days have been claiming that the free SHS policy was conceived by them and that the NDC is so opposed to the policy that we will cancel it when we come into power. These claims are not true,” he said.
“Free SHS was conceived and captured in the 1992 Constitution and it was Mr Mahama who commenced its implementation in 2015,” Sammy Gyamfi said.