The running mate of former President John Mahama in the 2020 polls, Prof Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, has the erstwhile administration run the progressively free education programme for a whole year without anybody even knowing about it because it was so problem-free.
Speaking to Class News, Prof Opoku-Agyemang said: “We implemented progressively free education; it was a constitutional provision and we did that because we didn’t assume that all children needed the same things. Some needed more of one thing than others. Others will not even need anything at all and they will survive, so, we did our study and targeted where we thought the need was”.
“We saw that generally speaking, there was more need in the day schools than in the boarding schools, so, we started with that and we were able to isolate over 340-something-thousand children in the day schools who needed support”, she said.
“For some, it’s even shoes, it’s bags, it’s anything that they need to be able to stay in school, so, you noticed we were providing all those things to ensure that the children stay in school and also providing stationery, the books, everything and, of course, there were parents who could pay and we know it’s difficult; we are not saying because they could pay it was easy, it’s not easy but you can encourage them to support us and, as time went on you’d notice that maybe some need half, some need full scholarships, whatever it is that you thought that they needed, so, we implemented this for one year and, as I keep saying, after we implemented it, nobody even heard about it, nobody even knew it, it was so seamless, OK”.
“There was no noise, there was no fanfare. Maybe, our problem is that we didn’t put banners everywhere welcoming Progressively Free Education”.
Asked for her views on the free senior high school programme being implemented by the Akufo-Addo government, Prof Opoku-Agyemang said: “It’s up to them; if they feel what’s going on is good, let them keep it” but noted: “What are parents saying? What are teachers saying? What is the community saying?”