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The National Democratic Congress (NDC) Minority in Parliament has rejected allegations that they oppose the government’s proposed Free Senior High School (SHS) bill.

On June 11, Majority Leader Alexander Afenyo-Markin announced that the bill, once passed, would mandate the continuation of the Free SHS policy across future governments.

This move aims to ensure the policy’s permanence, deterring any future government from discontinuing it. Some groups and individuals have already criticized the initiative as unnecessary.

In a post on X, Minority Leader Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson refuted claims that NDC MPs are against the proposed bill, stating there is currently no such bill before Parliament.

“For the records, it was the NDC that birthed the 1992 Constitution which provided the legal framework for the introduction of Free Secondary Education in Ghana. The claim that NDC MPs are against a proposed Free SHS Bill is totally false,” Forson asserted.

He emphasized that the NDC cannot oppose a bill they have not seen.

Dr. Forson also highlighted that the NDC initiated the Free SHS programme in 2015 for all day students in public senior high schools, benefiting over 320,000 students, with plans to extend it to 120,000 boarding students by 2017.

NDC’s flagbearer, John Mahama, has pledged to review the Free SHS policy within the first 100 days if elected in the 2024 general elections. Mahama promised a stakeholder summit to improve the policy’s implementation and enhance the quality of basic education.

He criticized the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) for rejecting calls for a review while committing to a policy rationalization in a document to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The NDC’s stance, as reiterated by Dr. Forson, is to improve the implementation of the Free SHS programme. Deputy Ranking Member on the Education Committee, Dr. Clement Apaak, echoed this sentiment, stating that the NDC Minority is not opposed to the Free SHS bill and will support any efforts to enhance and sustain the programme.

“As John Dramani Mahama noted during his meeting with the national leadership of CHASS on May 8th, 2024, he will work with them and all stakeholders to make Free SHS better,” Dr. Apak added.

He emphasized that the NDC will support legislation aimed at improving and ensuring the sustainability of the Free SHS programme.

By Daakyehene Nana Yaw Asante