14 November 2012

Ghana: KNUST Dons Okay Nana's Free SHS

Kumasi — A GROUP of Lecturers at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), who calls themselves Intellectuals for National Development (IND) have declared their support for Nana Addo's Free Senior High School.

According to the group, the implementation of the free SHS was highly feasible, provided the government of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), when voted into power can make it a number one priority and ensure the judicious use of the state resources available towards its funding.

The group contends that there are several justifiable reasons why free SHS must be at the centre of Ghana's development agenda, arguing that accessible and good quality education have direct corresponding impacts on all spheres of human endeavors.

Addressing a news conference to state its position on the feasibility or otherwise of the policy, which has in recent times attracted lots of debates in media circles, the Chairman of the IND, Dr. Peter Twumasi, said after its exhaustive research and deliberations, it had realized that the country would be better off implementing the free SHS policy, considering its numerous benefits than if it was not implemented.

It argued that available and good quality education is crucial in fighting poverty effectively and will also help reduce social exclusion by helping people to develop, earn an income, gain control over their lives and participate in the development of the society.

The IND noted that the country's inability to fully comply with the provisions in the Constitution had been mainly due to lack of funds, but considering the current situation and the fact that Ghana had progressed steadily in terms of major economic indicators such as the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), with its attendant discovery of oil resources, it was high time the country joined the likes of Kenya, Uganda and the Netherlands, in providing free secondary education for the youth.

"Our inability to make education free has mainly resulted from lack of funds; however, the picture is different today. Ghana, once a HIPC country, with a GDP of about 6 billion dollars as at 1992, can now boast of GDP of about 37.12 billion dollars as at 2012, and a Middle Income nation, besides we have now become an oil-producing country with the potential to become industrialized so any action vigorously embarked upon to reduce corruption should make enough funds available for education," it noted.

The lecturers were of the view that education promotes social and economic development of a country, stressing further in countries where there is high level of education, industries thrive well because there are enough human resources available for investors and manufacturers to utilize.

They observed that the free secondary education introduced by the late Dr. Kwame Nkrumah in the Northern regions of the country obviously yielded positive results and must, therefore, be the guiding principle in the deliberations over whether it is necessary for the country to implement free SHS or not.

"Framers of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, having in mind the vision of Dr. Nkrumah, thought it wise to make our education free, compulsory and universal for all Ghanaian children.

Constitutionally, Ghanaian children who, due to poverty, do not enter SHS are being unfairly treated," the Lecturers contended.

The IND, therefore, pointed out that any efforts by a particular political organization to oppose the policy amounted to hypocrisy, negligence and sheer wickedness and must therefore be condemned in no uncertain terms.

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