I’ll review Free-SHS within 90 days in office – Mahama

Former President John Dramani Mahama has reiterated that he will review the Akufo-Addo-led administration’s flagship Free-SHS Policy within his first 90-days in office if elected in the 2020 general elections.

He noted that he will engage relevant stakeholders to ensure that the policy is bettered.

According to him, the current government did not listen to him on countless occasions as he said that a consultative  and stakeholders meeting needed to be arranged  to fashion out how best  and efficiently to implement the free senior high school.

Mr Mahama has come under backlash from the ruling NPP and a section of Ghanaians over his criticisms against the education policy.

Speaking at a meeting with the leaders of the Ghana National Council for Private Schools (GNACOPS) in Accra on Wednesday he noted “within the first 90-days after I take office as the president of Ghana, I will call for the arrangement of a very broad stakeholder and consultative meeting on the way forward for a better free SHS.”

He however promised not to turn his back to private basic schools when back to power.

“The NDC shall ensure that all issues raised which are feasible and doable will be factored into the NDC manifesto,” he said.

The Director of GNACOPS, MrEnoch Kwasi Gyetuah, in his presentation, said the private basic schools   played massive role in the development of basic education in Ghana, which should not be discounted. He said the government should be firm with the private partnership arrangement in the provision of schools in deprived areas leading to ‘build operate and transfer (BOT)’ system.

He also said the government should consider tax exemptions for certain educational tools and equipment when imported into the country as well other relaxed tax regimes for private schools operators.

“There should also be a policy framework that will ensure quality and effective professional teacher development in private schools,” he advised.

“I am happy to announce the achievement of GNACOPS in the professional training of private school teachers in the country, which has helped, most teachers to earn their title professional teachers which hitherto was not the case, and also in the training of almost 70,000 teachers in the country on the new curriculum,” he said.

The Director further said GNACOPS was ever ready to engage all stakeholders as well as all political parties and the current government to push strongly for the welfare of private schools teachers, managers, owners and parents for the benefit and growth of the private sector participation in education.

He finally asked the NDC to provide a policy or program that would allow the government to give logistical support to the council in their day to day affairs should the NDC come back to government.

Prof. Joshua Alabi, an educationalist  and a member of the NDC,  indicated  that he was impressed with the council  and what they were doing to project  the image of private  basic schools in the country and urged  the council to  continue  with their  engagement with all stakeholders.

Mr Ofosu Ampofo, the National Chairman of the NDC, also lauded the council particularly for the presentation made by the director for GNACOPS.

“The NDC is in process of crafting a very brilliant manifesto which is holistic and employs the bottom of approach and that the meeting was timely,” he said.

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