Dr Clement Apaak: Who is telling The truth about the proposed FSHS Bill

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July 2nd, 2024

If the content of the July 1st, 2024 Daily Graphic front page story, attributed to the Minister for Education, titled “Free SHS Bill Goes to Cabinet: Seeks Cancellation of BECE for SHS Admission – SHS to be 6 Years, is indeed true, then, it raises serious questions with regards to the purpose of the yet-to-be-seen FSHS Bill as originally announced by the Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo-Markins.

Firstly, the revelation by Hon. Yaw Adutwum, the Minister for Education, that the proposed FSHS Bill is yet to go to cabinet, is in direct opposition to the announcement made by the Majority Leader on 11th and 27th of June 2024 respectively.

The Majority Leader indicated to the media and on the floor of Parliament that the proposed bill had already received cabinet approval, and was in transition to Parliament. To put it bluntly, if we are to believe the Minister for Education, then we must logically conclude that the Majority Leader deliberately misinformed Ghanaians.

Secondly, a close scrutiny of the report attributed to the Minister for Education by the Daily Graphic suggests that the purpose of the proposed bill is not to protect the FSHS Programme in its current form and to ensure that successive governments continue to implement the policy in the current manner as suggested by the Majority Leader.

While we wait for the proposed bill, it is obvious from the report by the Minister for Education, that it is more of a bill seeking to review, restructure and redefine aspects of our Pre-tertiary educational system rather than protect the FSHS in its current form.

Removing BECE and combining JHS and SHS into a 6 year secondary system, is a major undertaking that should require a serious national stakeholders dialogue. Sadly, no consultations have been carried out. And there is no indication of input from key stakeholders in the educational space as far as we know.

Given the apparent contradictions between what the Majority Leader and the Minister for Education have said, with regards to the proposed bill, we must not and can not discuss the purposed bill any further until we see it and study its contents.

Our position as a party and a Caucus remains the same. Any bill or legislation intended to address the FSHS policy implementation challenges, and to make the programme sustainable, is welcome. Let us restate, that John Dramani Mahama and the NDC believe that the FSHS policy is a good policy and do not hate it as some in the NPP falsely claim. How can we not like a policy we began implementing in 2015?

Our concern has been and remains the implementation challenges: inadequate academic and residential infrastructure; inadequate furniture; inadequate and poor quality food; erratic academic calendar; obnoxious double track system among others. And we will continue pointing out these implementation challenges with the hope that they will be fixed.

Let those who continue peddling lies about our position on FSHS know, that Ghanaians know the truth. And Ghanaians will not fall for the stale and discredited lie that John Dramani Mahama and the NDC are opposed to FSHS.

Dr. Clement Apaak
MP, Builsa South; Deputy Ranking Member on Education Committee of Parliament


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