Free SHS is not to promote our political agenda – Ablakwa

The Deputy Minister of Education, Okudzeto Ablakwa has insisted that government’s Free Senior High School (SHS) programme was not engineered by the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) for political gains.

“If it is about political gain, we would have just announced that it would have covered a special group of people,” he said, Speaking on Joy FM.

The free SHS policy was the main campaign message of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the 2012 general elections; a policy which was criticized by the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC).

But President John Mahama in his 2014 State of the Nation address announced that his administration was going to introduce a progressive free SHS education.

His announcement has received widespread criticism from different quarters while some teacher unions have also expressed grave concerns that the policy will affect the quality of education.

The government nonetheless is putting measures in place to begin the implementation of the policy in January 2015.

Mr. Ablakwa said the programme was not designed to lure the electorates to endorse the candidature of President John Mahama in the upcoming elections.

He clarified that it was just a fulfilment of government’s campaign promise.

“We have said that this is just a general programme. We are working on the policy issue. We are being consistent, President Mahama has remembered his campaign promise.”

The Minister also debunked reports that government had promised to build 50 schools each year, saying, “I have not only denied but challenged anybody to come with evidence that the Ministry of Education will build 50 schools every year.”

Meanwhile, Government has revealed that over 3,000 students are expected to benefit from the programme.

The Deputy Minister has said he is confident government will sustain the free SHS programme.

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