A former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana has described attacks on those who have publicly criticised government’s double track policy including the president as unfortunate.
Prof Ivan Addae-Mensah, who warned government earlier about the wholesale implementation of the free SHS policy, says national interest should override political parties fulfilling political promises to score points.
His voice is the latest in criticising government as the discussion on the double track system rages. Some members of the academia are cautioning government about the dire consequences it will have on the future of tertiary education.
“It will be in the best interest of everybody for governments who bring about these policies to listen to people, especially those who are the practitioners of education. That way, if there are any difficulties or challenges they can be met or you [government] can prepare to meet them,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo at Ghana National College
Prof Mensah lamented how all past governments since the beginning of the fourth republic have turned a deaf ear to technocrats but go ahead to carry out their political promises.
“They make up their minds and don’t listen, anybody who makes any attempt to give an alternative view is looked upon as being against the government,” he stated.
He disclosed that President Akufo-Addo conceived the idea of Free SHS policy before the 2012 election and together they discussed the various aspect of the policy. He said the then-candidate raised a number of points and they considered the pros and cons.
“In principle, it is a very good idea, but it is only a problem of implementation, the scope and sustainability,” the former Vice-Chancellor said.
Implementation of the Free SHS policy has been fraught with difficulties
Prof Addae-Mensah also disclosed that he met a committee candidate Akufo-Addo had set up to look into the cost aspect but upon meeting with them, he pointed out the potential pitfalls and the “serious difficulties” the economy will suffer two years after implementation.
“Unfortunately, my views did not find favour with the committee…I don’t want to get into this syndrome of “I told you so!” What I predicted has happened, so what we need to do is to sit down for government to listen to everybody and see how best we can solve this issue.
He cautioned that no one should try to put a barrier and say the governing party wants is going ahead with its policies and no detractors will be listened to.
According to him, people shutting up dissenting or alternatives views is not the best approach as it rubbishes calls for national dialogue on the subject.
Former Rector of GIMPA, Professor Stephen Adei
Prof Addae-Mensah says the time has come for government to rethink about the entire free SHS policy.
Also commenting on the issue of educational policy, the acting Vice Chancellor of the University of Education, Winneba has asked policymakers on education to ground their policy directions on research.
According to the Vice Chancellor, many educational policies are rushed through without proper research and consultations with relevant stakeholders.
Rev. Prof. Anthony Afful-Broni was speaking at the GRASSAG International Conference at the University of Education.
Meanwhile, Minister of State in Charge of Tertiary Education, Professor Kwesi Yankah, has reiterated the double track enrollment policy would augment and improve government’s effort at providing access to education for all children.
The new system to be introduced in September has come against heavy criticisms by sections of the public.