Former president John Dramani Mahama’s comments on the Free SHS programme lack substance and should therefore be ignored, the government has said.
Mahama is on record to have criticised the Free SHS, saying the policy was not properly thought through before being implemented.
The ex-president pointed to the introduction of the double-track system in the various public secondary schools as evidence that the Free SHS was rushed.
However, government has rejected Mahama’s criticism, explaining that the aim of the programme is to enable the enrollment of more students.
Speaking at a press conference on Sunday, Information minister designate, Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah, said Ghanaians must ignore the comments of Mahama because he has always been against the Free SHS.
“It is not senseless, to give some an extra 500,000 students free education in Akufo-Addo’s first term,” Mr. Opong-Nkrumah rebutted.
“Others may be shocked that a former President who in his days was noted for calling on Ghanaians to be optimistic and not cynical about national programs, will be the one to make such a comment to undermine a national program. The Akufo-Addo government is not the least surprised. Mr. Mahama has never been in support of the Free SHS program. You recall that he campaigned heavily against it even as a sitting President.”
The Free SHS policy was the flagship campaign message of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) during the 2016 elections and it was rolled out in September 2017.
However, the policy has encountered a number of challenges since being implemented, as the availability of space forced government to adopt a double-track system.
Meanwhile, former president Mahama has indicated that he will review the Free SHS should the National Democratic Congress (NDC) return to power in 2020.