Friday, 23 March 2012

The Cost of SHS

I have just returned home from an .amazing first and last (sadly) Harvard World Model United Nations. I was tasked with representing St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the SOCHUM committee debating the topic of Primary Education Development in developing nations. It was very fitting that just before leaving I watched Nana Akufo Addo's interview on HARDtalk exploring his promise of free Secondary Education. My co-delegate and I both felt that we shouldn't limit the debate to Primary Education either, that it should be a discussion about Secondary Education as well. In the new technological age, a country who provides and ensures only primary education is a country who is content with remaining an agricultural/raw material economy. Having returned I'm catching up with fall out from Nana Akufo Addo's HARDtalk interview.

Frankly put, the NPP are shirking a concrete answer. They are, and it is a shame because I think that they are right to promise it, I think they have the moral high for promoting it before the NDC and I think they are the only party capable of bringing it to fruition. So why shirk answers? If you have not completed the costings, then there are ways of admitting that without admitting defeat. I can think of a million possible responses to journalists on this topic which might not gain the NPP extra points, but it would at least deduct points from the NDC. This is politics, what you do say, what you dont say and what you lead someone to imagine you've said all matter. Perhaps, unlike myself, Ghana's politicians have not got much experience worming their way out of detentions for absent homeworks and missing PE kits. They'll need to get the practice in quickfast, because Nana Akufo Addo struggled with Stephen Sackur and he's not yet at Paxman level! Mr. Boakye Agyarko left much to be desired on PM Express and his co-guests weren't even Alis or Foremans of the boxing ring that is Ghanaian politics.

Secondary Education is crucial if Ghana is to develop above and beyond its present record. The incentive of free SHS is still necessary to convince parents to choose that path for their children. I hope that both parties would now fight over who can offer Free SHS and more, rather than who will offer Free SHS and who will oppose it.

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