Minority is committed to Free SHS policy – Dr Ato Forson

 The Minority Cau­cus in Parliament has stated that it is committed to the Free Senior High School (FSHS) pol­icy and would support any efforts geared at bettering the pro-poor education programme.

The Minority Leader, Dr Cassiel Ato Forson, described as “desper­ation” attempts by the majority caucus to project the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) and its legislators as being opposed to the policy.

Addressing reporters at a press conference in Parliament, Accra, yesterday, Dr Forson, MP, Ajuma­ko/Enyan/Esiam, said if anyone was against a legislation to regulate the policy, it was rather the govern­ing New Patriotic Party (NPP).

“Our position is simple. The NDC minority will at all times sup­port any legislation that will seek to improve and sustain the FSHS policy. In fact, if there is anybody in this country who is on record to have said he does not believe in FSHS law, it is the Vice President and presidential candidate of the NPP, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia.

The veep is on record to have said there is no need for a law to regulate the FSHS policy and not the NDC. He said all that you need is commitment and the NDC is committed to the FSHS policy,” he said.

Dr Forson was reacting to a media engagement the Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, held on Tuesday where he alleged that “the NDC Minority does not want to commit itself to free SHS and the fact that we want to make a law to make it mandatory”.

Supporting his claim against the Vice President, Dr Forson shared with the Ghanaian Times a video clip in which Dr Bawumia was heard saying, “FSHS education doesn’t have to be backed by law to be funded. What is required is commitment and political will” at a public function.

The Ghanaian Times cannot, however, validate the clip.

According to Dr Ato Forson, in as much as his caucus commits to the policy, it would gloss over quality issues which it has raised since its implementation.

“We have obviously identified some lapses in the implementation of the policy. All these times we have been pointing to the lapses and have made meaningful sugges­tions to the government.”

He said as things stand, there is no bill before the House for the minority to even oppose, and urged the majority and government to bring to the House on time the bill for a broader consultation with stakeholders as the election fast approaches.

“It is important for us to reit­erate that we cannot oppose a bill that we have not seen. And we have said it nowhere that we are going to oppose such a bill. At this point, we are urging the govern­ment and the majority leader to hurry up in submitting the bill to parliament.

“I serve notice that from now onwards, every morning, I’ll be reminding the majority leader when he will bring the bill because when the bill comes and on time, we’ll be able to consult the NAGRAT, GNAT and people who under­stand the education system so that we can enact a bill that’ll stand the test of time and make the policy sustainable,” Dr Ato Forson said.

In the view of the Ajumako/ Enyan/Esiam lawmaker, the NPP and its MPs are desperate and are clutching on to the FSHS policy having failed the Ghanaian voter.

The NDC’s commitment to a FSHS education for the Ghanaian child, he said, was unquestion­able as it is the same party which drafted the 1992 constitution and started the policy progressively as stipulated by constitution by the John Mahama government in 2015.


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