22 November 2012

Ghana: In Support of Fee-Free Second Cycle Education


Watching them on the party political platform obstinately arguing against the introduction of fee-free and universal second cycled education, they cut a very pathetic figure. Most of them, including the President of the Republic, are beneficiaries of fee-free second cycle education.

For seven solid years, the poor cocoa farmer has to break his or her back to produce enough for this country to galvanize the resources to pay for the education of the President and a number of his leading ministers.

Having reached the very top in Ghanaian politics, buoyed by free second cycle education on the sacrifices of the farmer, fishermen and the poor worker on the factory floor, President John Dramani Mahama and his top aides are telling us that the children of the poor Ghanaian farmer and worker, whose sweat funded their free education in the past, do not deserve to be educated at the expense of the state. And they say they are social democrats.

The Constitution of Ghana is unequivocal about the essence of free education. Under Article 25 (1), "All persons shall have the right to equal educational opportunities and facilities, and with a view to achieving the realization of that right; (a) basic education shall be free, compulsory and available to all" (b) secondary education in its different forms, including technical and vocational education, shall be made generally available and accessible to all by every appropriate means, and in particular, by the progressive introduction of free education."

We do not believe we need legal luminaries to tell us that the tenets of this Articles is to ensure that the state progresses to a level where second cycle education could be offered to all, without discrimination and free of charge.

The Chronicle would like to submit that the state is obliged under Article 25 of the Constitution, to ensure that what obtains in one part of the country is available to all. At the moment, the state funds considerable aspects of second cycle education for the northern part of the country.

We would like to submit that it is a matter of right for children of the northern part of the country to benefit from second cycle education, paid for by the state. The missing link in the whole jigsaw is the failure of the fee-free policy to cover the rest of the country.

As it is, the programme is discriminatory and against the tenet of the Constitution. The Chronicle believes that extending the programme to all parts of the country is in fulfillment of the Constitutional requirements of the state.

Twenty years after the promulgation of the Constitution, we do not have time on hand to stand and stare, when our children drop out after basic school, because parents could not afford second cycle school fees.

The Chronicle has spotted many advertising billboards sponsored by the ruling NDC, pointing out that education is a right and not a promise. We agree a hundred percent with the party on this score. It is precisely for this reason that second cycle or the Senior High School ought to be free for the school child to access.

The Chronicle endorses free education. We are throwing a challenge to those who benefitted from fee-free education and are now at Government House as Head of State or Ministers to support the concept of a fee-free second cycle education.

We must all work to bring about fee-free second cycle education. We cannot continue to blow hot air over this constitutional requirement. The Chronicle is in full support of the fee-free Second Cycle Education. We intend to make it a major issue all the way to the vote on December 7.

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