President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo wants to know the whereabouts of the ‘unprecedented’ infrastructure that former President John Dramani Mahama claimed was done during his tenure.
Touring the Upper East Region yesterday, the President said his office had been ‘overwhelmed’ with requests for classroom blocks, dormitories and other infrastructure, including roads, and was wondering where the NDC’s so-called unprecedented projects were located.
“I have always asked myself ‘where are the many infrastructure President Mahama and the NDC said they have invested our money in?’ These are the people who are busily criticizing us. If they provided unprecedented infrastructure, how come they are the same people saying there is no infrastructure for the Free SHS,” the President fired at the Bolgatanga Senior High School at Winkongo.
“Ghanaians are intelligent people and we cannot lie to them and think they will not know the truth. In 2016, they said President Mahama had provided unprecedented infrastructure across the country. We expected to see much infrastructure in the educational sector,” he said.
“Everywhere I have visited, people are complaining about lack of classroom accommodation and dormitories. So where is the infrastructure President Mahama built in the schools? These are the people who are criticizing us. Me and my mouth! In 2016, when I asked about the infrastructure by NDC, President Mahama said I had been sleeping in my car. Today, we are seeing the truth; politicians must tell the truth.”
He said the Free Senior High School (SHS) initiative which is catering for some 1.2 million SHS students from September after the programme went full-blown (Form 1 – Form 3) has come to stay and he will ensure its successful implementation no matter what the opponents of the government will do.
“Our opponents are saying we are wasting resources of the country on the Free SHS programme, but our message to them is that we will rather invest the country’s resources on the future of this country than spend on consumption and politicians. You cannot develop a country without paying attention to the educational sector.”
He said: “This is the first time in the history of Ghana that we are having a universal free education in the Senior High level and I am very hopeful that the outcome will be good. By next year, the first batch of the Free SHS will be taking their final examination and I am hopeful that the results will be good to justify the investment.”
According to him, his government had decided to pay more attention on developing the foundations that the country requires to grow beyond aid and said he would not hesitate to invest in the educational sector.
“No country can develop without an educated human resource; no child should be left behind. I prefer spending our resources in developing the future leaders; we will not consume it in our mouth. We have spent over two and a half years developing a proper foundation for the nation to develop upon, but opponents are kicking against this. They are dreaming of coming to power, coming to do what? They don’t even believe in a universal education for all; they want to come and collapse what has been achieved so far,” he pointed out.
President later promised the Bolgatanga Senior High School a bus to compensate the school for the long denial of a befitting means of transport.
The Minister of Education, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, who is with the President, said the government is committed to ensuring the successful implementation of the Free SHS, saying it has been the desire of President Akufo-Addo that every Ghanaian child gets basic education which ends at the senior high school.
“Our critics are saying we should wait till we build a lot of infrastructure before commencing the Free SHS. My question is that, as we wait, whose child should stay at home till we build the needed infrastructure for all schools. The President says no child should be left behind and that is what we are doing,” the minister said.
He said there was nothing wrong using some of the oil money to educate the youth for the future development of the country.
He added that from the 2019-2020 academic year, government would be distributing the Chief Examiners Report to all senior high schools free of charge to ensure that students know what they are required to learn before their examination. This would help the students to learn properly on their own even at home and when there is no teacher in their classrooms