There is no doubt that, quality universal access to secondary education is the only way to meet the challenges of this century. Acquiring such an added value, prepares them effectively, allows them to become economically useful to the development of this nation.
AFAG is convinced that, as according to the World Bank;
“Secondary education is a gateway to the opportunities and benefits of economic and social development. Demand for access to higher levels of education is growing dramatically as countries approach universal primary education. The global Education for All (EFA) effort provides added momentum for the growth in secondary education.
Furthermore, globalization and the increasing demand for a more sophisticated labour force, combined with the growth of knowledge-based economies gives a sense of urgency to the heightened demand for secondary education”(World Bank 2012).
The United Kingdom pursued it in the 1920s and succeeded; Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Botswana and South Korea have all tried and succeed. Why not Ghana? AFAG holds high the opinion that, with an invaluable commitment to secondary education and development of our human resource, as a nation, we can go beyond the 6.1% expenditure on our GDP to 7.0%.
We are awed by the inclusion of technical education in the programmes package. AFAG agree with the assertion that, our economy is challenged by the problem of inadequate skilled workmen at the vocational or technical level critical to our industrialization. Indeed, the educational reforms that saw to the changes in our educational system from “O” and “A” levels to the SSS system trumpeted largely, the use of the SSS to make available middle level manpower for the industrialization of our economy by NDC 1. Subsequently, the Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education (FCUBE) which has seen a rhetorical booster, through; the removal of school under trees and a one-off free school uniforms allocation by NDC 2.
Our longitudinal analysis however shows the commitment of generational Ghanaian leaders to the vision of a universal access to education at various levels. Whilst the Nkrumahist were for free education at all levels, the PNDC/NDC 1 championed FCUBE at the basic level, whilst the NPP under President Kufour scaled up FCUBE to include the junior high school, and strengthened primary education through massive enrollment using the capitation grant, LEAP and the school feeding program. The NDC 2 government had a phenomenal vision of eroding school under trees, but for such massive corruption rocking it structural and operation systems, the impact of this program has not seen the day of light.
Election 2012 & Free Education Promises
Noting that, an objective has to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable and Time bound (SMAT), a SMAT analysis of NDC’s educational promise in 2008 vis-à-vis that of the NPP,PPP,CPP and the PNC educational promise of 2008/2012 can be used as a simple index for analysis.
NDC 2008 Manifesto Promise
Whilst the NDC made a Specific promise to review the 4 years SHS to 3 and eradicate school under trees, we deemed this Attainable hence the voting of NDC 2 into government. 4 years down the line; yes the 4 yes reversal has been Attained but that of the completed eradication of school under trees has suffered severe setbacks hence this by our criteria cannot be Measured and had not been completely done within 4 years hence this promise was only ambitious un-attainable with time and un-realistic.
NPP 2008 Manifesto Promise
Though voted out of government, they the NPP have been consistent from 2008 with their quest for a universal access to free quality secondary education. We find this promise Specific, however we are unable to access it further until it is implemented to access its measurability, when it can completely be implemented and how it can be attained. However, with the same level of hope that kept faith in the NDC’s 2008 promise, this vision can be assessed should the NPP be elected and same analysis applied in 2016 election year?
Except for the PPP who have not won an election to be in power, we hold same the belief that, it is only when any of those parties have been elected into government that we can assess them after in an election year.
We endorse absolutely the position of the World Bank (2012); “In today’s world, secondary education has a vital mission - one which combines the policy peculiarities of being at the same time terminal and preparatory, compulsory and post-compulsory, uniform and diverse, general and vocational. Secondary education is now being recognized as the cornerstone of educational systems in the 21st century. Quality secondary education is indispensable in creating a bright future for individuals and nations alike”
Ghanaians need a bright future.AFAG thus endorses absolutely the promise for a free SHS in Ghana. That is the only way to go.
Source: Davis Opoku Dr. Afriye Ayew Arnoldd Boateng Bright Acheampong
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