The essence of education to a nation cannot in anyway be overemphasized. It has the capacity to change the fortunes of a nation. It has proven its relevance to powerful countries like the United States of America, United Kingdom, Singapore etc. It is said that the human resource capacity of a nation far outweighs its mineral resources like gold and oil.
It is on these grounds that in the 2012 electioneering campaign, Nana Akufo-Addo saw the need to advance the education of the Ghanaian populace by proposing Free Senior High School as his flagship program. It takes a man with a high sense of vision to realize that. Not only did he and his team make that promise, but they went ahead to table out the cost benefit analysis of this vision. It was a great relief to the already suffering Ghanaians who cannot afford to have three square meals a day for their families, not to talk of sending their kids to SHS, the cost of which has been high and on the rise due to the bruising economic situation of our nation under John Mahama.
Free SHS was considered as the catalyst to nurturing an educated populace, which in furtherance would have enhanced understanding of one’s rights and responsibilities as a citizen of Ghana, as well as the political structures and gaming of our nation. It would have benefited each and every Ghanaian regardless of political inclination.
But, we are all witness to the bad-mouthing by John Mahama and the NDC about this policy proposal that was the catch phrase of the 2012 elections, and the key policy proposal of the NPP, led by Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. Free SHS that was considered as a laudable vision was countered by cynicism and calculated lies from the NDC just for political expediency. All sorts of questions were raised as to the viability of this laudable idea. And although much emphasis was placed on educating Ghanaians and the NDC about the blue print plan of its implementation and execution, John Mahama and his NDC continued throwing dust in the eye of the public to reject the Free SHS promise.
Not only did they rubbish such a golden idea on political platforms, but they also hired gullible Ghanaians to stage adverts on national and private television stations to do likewise. It didn’t end there. John Mahama took to the social media and exposed his ignorance for cheap political gains. He posted on the wall of his Facebook and Twitter accounts on October 12, 2012, in the heat of the 2012 elections that “Free SHS is a misplaced priority if primary school people still pay fees. Let’s make primary free first.” Such balderdash!
Now in his uninspiring State of the Nation Address days ago, John Mahama boorishly shocked Ghanaians to the core when he stated that his government would be implementing Free SHS in 2015/2016: the policy, which he has callously and shamelessly kicked against. This is a clear indication of the fact that he and the NDC have got no shame! Many political pundits are struggling to understand what has necessitated such a big shameless U-turn only to find nothing, except to say that they have taken Ghanaians for granted. Citizens must rise up!
It is imperative to note that with the avalanche of promises that John Mahama and the NDC proffered to Ghanaians in the run up to the 2008 elections, five years down the line, none has been fulfilled. From the construction of Cape Coast Stadium, Tamale and Cape Coast Airports, Kotokoraba market, 200,000 houses through STX, offices for MPs in all 230 constituencies, down to the cutting down of rice importation by 50%, offering 10% of oil revenue to the people of Western Region, One-time NHIS premium among others. With all the above failed promises, one can only treat Mahatma’s new promissory love for Free SHS with a pinch of salt.
Paul Begala once said “politics is a show business for ugly people.” Yes, he was right. But the level of dishonesty, disingenuousness and hypocrisy of John Mahama and his government makes it uglier. It’s just bad. But, we know Ghanaians are watching, closely.