I think we should all forgive Prof. Yankah for insisting that Free SHS in its depressingly unplanned, double-track, zero infrastructure form needs no review.
We should also forgive him for making the embarrassing assumption that someone like him who sees nothing wrong with the current implementation of a constitutional provision on education, would be the one to consult, and not Prof. Yankah of the University of Cape Coast, who like parents, teachers and other stakeholders, believe, the policy should be reviewed and improved.
To be fair to the Minister, he contributed to the policy by composing a Free SHS song that no one knows how to sing.
For those who don’t know, the Minister is an authority in music and oral compositions (so I hope the jama song catches on); but it is not fair to him that anyone would think him an authority on all matters.
Or maybe he was pressured to affirm his loyalty to the party hence the hasty and resultant embarrassing press release.
But the proposed review is critical; and thankfully, as proposed by President Mahama, it will happen in a way that does not compromise quality.
The current shift (double track) system will be abolished and the more efficient three-terms per academic year programme, reintroduced.
Emphasis on skills training, technical and vocational education will be re-introduced to provide students with more options, as they go forward with their choices in diverse career and aptitude paths.
There will be emphasis on teacher development and supervision across all schools to improve learning outcomes. Ghana did not just produce the best secondary school students in West Africa for 3 years running some time past for nothing!
And above all will be a crash programme to complete all the remaining abandoned Community Day Schools and construct additional ones in areas of high demand to be able to provide increased access and avoid the current congestion being experienced due to the current poor implementation of the programme.
In addition, a National Stakeholders Conference will be organised to bring together headmasters, parents, teachers, educationists, labour, politicians, traditional leaders, religious groups, CSOs, students and others to further review and chart a sustainable course for the implementation of free education for our children and country.
So please excuse Prof. Yankah’s faux pas. Forgiveness is still divine.
By Kwame Nkrumah Addo
The writer is a Lecturer