The governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) has described the promise by the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) to give free education to first year tertiary students as a complete scam.
NDC announced the policy barely a week to the 2020 general election after launching its manifesto some months in which it promised cost-sharing (KYEMUPE) with students.
However, addressing a news conference in Accra yesterday, NPP National Youth Organiser Henry Nana Boakye said the NDC has, over the period, said that its 2020 manifesto contains programmes and policies proposed by the People of Ghana.
He said the U-turn on the KYEMUPE promise, which Ghanaians were made to believe was a true and accurate reflection of the aspirations and needs of the ordinary Ghanaian, was baffling.
“This an ill-conceived campaign promise, smuggled through the back door to add up to the litany of their failed and uninspiring manifesto promises.
“The shambolic FA NINYINAA (Taking full cost of school fees) promise, being the last straw that the NDC desperately seek to anchor their drowning campaign on, barely a week to the elections, is not only a propaganda tool but also a sickening scam directed at downplaying the intelligence of voters.
“Isn’t it strange that the people who supposedly asked for KYEMUPE at a delicate period when COVID-19 had slowed economic activities, would vary their demand and ask for FA NINYINAA when economic activities have picked up momentum according to reliable data from Ghana Statistical Service and Bank of Ghana? The flip-flop disposition of Candidate Mahama and his NDC tells us that they are confused, bereft of ideas and desperate to win political power with plain lies, fabricated falsehood and deceptive campaign promises,” he said
Free SHS claim
The NPP National Youth Organiser also slammed former President John Dramani Mahama for claiming he started the free Senior High School (SHS) policy.
“Mahama’s attempt to associate himself with the policy was ‘driven by ill-faith, deception and opportunism’ borne out of his ‘innate tendencies to harvest what he didn’t sow,’ the national youth organiser of the NPP,” Nana Boakye stated.
The presidential candidate of the NDC claimed during a recent campaign event that he started the free-fee education policy in 2015.
A major campaign promise by the then opposition leader, President Akufo-Addo, the free SHS policy was launched in 2017.
A little over 400,000 students benefited from the policy in its first year of implementation.
“Under the holistic and impactful Free SHS policy of President Akufo-Addo, tuition is free; admission fee is free, library fee is free; science centre is free, computer lab fee is free; utility fee is free; textbooks are free; boarding fee is free; nutritious meals are given for free to both Boarding and Day Students,” Nana Boakye said.
He said to date, over 1.2 million students have benefited from “the president Akufo-Addo Free SHS programme which has expanded access to secondary education and enabled an extra 400,000 students to enrol in senior high schools, whose education would have been truncated had this programme not been implemented by the NPP Government.”
According to WAEC, 2020 is the only year in the past six years that more than 50% of candidates obtained A1 – C6 in all core subjects areas. “This clearly demonstrates that quality was not compromised in implement the Akufo-Addo’s Free SHS programme,” he said.
According to the NPP youth organiser, Mahama’s attempt to steal free SHS idea of President ended in the shambolic SHS subsidy of a paltry Ghc38.94 from Ghc405.50 fees per term.
“What this meant was that, Day Students who were the only beneficiaries had to pay an average of GHc370 school fees each term. This was woefully insignificant and couldn’t reduce the number of qualified students who were unable to go to SHS upon gaining admission and also students who dropped out as a result of poverty. Let me hasten to add that, under this lame subsidy, Boarding Students who were in the majority paid full fees and other related expenses”, Nana Boakye explained.
He said the NPP government, in 2017, inherited huge debts at the Education Ministry as a result of the shambolic attempt by Mahama to implement his progressive free SHS saying: “It is instructive to note that, the little over Gh¢30 million cost associated with the SHS subsidy under the Mahama government was not paid. The NPP government upon assumption of office, had to clear up the arrears and clean up the mess. It is therefore shameful for Candidate Mahama to tout a failed policy he was unable to fund.”