Yaw Osei Adutwum, the deputy minister of education, says the pledge by the National Democratic Congress to end the double-track education system if voted into power would collapse Ghana’s Free Senior High School system.
Dr Adutwum said: “If you end double-track prematurely without the plan that has been put in place by Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to progressively end, then you are telling the children of Aduaben that there is no place for them in the Free SHS system.
“Yes, if you end it [double-track] prematurely, Free SHS as we know it will not survive, especially when you talk about bringing online private schools to make up and to pick up those who cannot go to the public school …”
The NDC’s presidential candidate, John Dramani Mahama, has said that within one year of office he will eliminate the double-track system.
Private versus public
Mahama said if he wins the 7 December polls, his government will embark on a fast-track programme to complete abandoned community day schools, expand infrastructure in existing schools and include private schools in the Free SHS programme.
But Dr Adutwum said he does not think the proposal to add private schools to the Free SHS programme has been thought through properly.
Speaking this morning (30 October) on The Asaase Breakfast Show, Dr Adutwum said the NDC must tell Ghanaians what type of private schools they will include in their version of the programme.
“If that is your goal [to include private Free SHS], what type of private schools are we talking about?” he asked. “Can we force parents to send their children to private schools? How are you going to send them to the private schools and are you going to bring the cut-off?”
Adutwum said: “They have to come and tell us, what kind of private schools are they talking about, and are they going to get parents to go there into those private schools? I don’t think people have thought through properly when they talk about bringing on board the private schools.”
The deputy minister of education said the NPP government wants to create a country that is a level playing field, where the poor and the rich come together and go to school together.
“We want to create a country where we see our common humanity as the most important thing. And not campaign promises geared towards getting some people to vote for us and therefore want to throw best practices and time-tested research about education to the dogs.”