Free SHS is here to stay; no reversal is possible - Mahama silences critics

Former President John Dramani Mahama has firmly dismissed claims by his political opponents that he opposes the Free Senior High School (Free SHS) policy and would cancel it if re-elected. Speaking at a media engagement at the Kempinski Hotel in Accra on Sunday, 7 July, Mahama asserted his unwavering support for the policy, emphasising that it cannot be reversed but only improved.

Jul 8, 2024 - 06:44
Jul 8, 2024 - 07:24
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Free SHS is here to stay; no reversal is possible - Mahama silences critics
Akufo-Addo-and-John-Mahama

Former President John Dramani Mahama has firmly dismissed claims by his political opponents that he opposes the Free Senior High School (Free SHS) policy and would cancel it if re-elected. Speaking at a media engagement at the Kempinski Hotel in Accra on Sunday, 7 July, Mahama asserted his unwavering support for the policy, emphasising that it cannot be reversed but only improved.

Mahama, the flagbearer of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), refuted the notion that he is against Free SHS, highlighting his role in launching the initiative in 2015. He pointed out that his efforts were praised by both the current President Akufo-Addo and UNESCO, so is counterintuitive for anyone to suggest that he is against the policy when, in fact, he blazed the trail by launching it in 2015.

He clarified that both the NDC and the incumbent New Patriotic Party (NPP) support Free SHS, with the primary difference being the method of implementation. According to Mahama, the NDC intended to introduce Free SHS gradually to ensure proper preparation, such as building sufficient infrastructure, in line with the constitution.

Free-shs
Free-shs

During the event, Mahama also addressed the role of journalists, lamenting how some have become "guard dogs" for the current government, attacking its critics rather than serving as watchdogs. This comment came in response to a question from the president of the Ghana Journalists Association, Albert Dwumfour, who expressed concerns about the safety of journalists under the Akufo-Addo administration. Dwumfour highlighted the numerous attacks on journalists, which have led to a decline in the country's media freedom index.

Mahama recounted how the environment for journalists in Ghana has become increasingly hostile, with some journalists forced to seek asylum abroad due to threats and attacks. He assured that, if re-elected, journalists would have the freedom to operate without fear of retaliation, noting that even his fiercest critics did not suffer attacks during his previous administration.

The former president's remarks underscore his commitment to both the Free SHS policy and the protection of press freedom in Ghana, promising a supportive environment for education and journalism alike.

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