Tuesday, 23 July

Free SHS: We won’t support a law that will merely protect Akufo-Addo’s legacy - Fifi Kwetey

Fifi Kwetey

The main opposition party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), has announced its opposition to any attempts by the Majority in Parliament to pass a law that would protect the legacy of President Nana Akufo-Addo.

 NDC General Secretary, Fifi Kwetey, described the proposed law to support free Senior High Schools (SHS) as a strategy to safeguard the president’s legacy rather than address the policy's shortcomings.

Fifi Kwetey stated that the NDC would only support legislation aimed at reviewing and improving the Free SHS policy to better serve Ghanaians.

 He criticized the New Patriotic Party (NPP) for focusing on protecting the president's legacy instead of resolving the existing issues within the policy.

Mr  Kwetey emphasized that the NDC Minority in Parliament would not endorse any such political manoeuvres.

"The law is all about politics and not for the good of the policy but for the whims of Nana Addo," Kwetey noted, arguing that the Majority’s push for legislation was driven by the president's convenience rather than the policy's effectiveness.

Kwetey's comments were made during an interview on Joy FM's 6:00 am news on Friday, June 14, 2024.

 Meanwhile, the government is preparing to present the Free SHS Bill to Parliament.

 The bill aims to regulate and ensure the sustainability of the Free SHS policy amidst growing concerns about potential cancellation by future administrations and the current challenges the programme faces.

Educational stakeholders, including EduWatch, have voiced their opinions on the policy. 

They suggested that parents who opt for boarding facilities for their children should cover the associated costs.

 Additionally, EduWatch recommended that the policy target children from poor households, using data from the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme to identify eligible beneficiaries.

During a Leaders’ Media Briefing on Tuesday, June 11, 2024, Majority Leader Alexander Afenyo-Markin provided further details on the bill

 He emphasized that the legislation seeks to enhance the policy's effectiveness and sustainability, aligning with the aspirations set forth in Chapter 5 of the Constitution.

"I’m also able to report that the Education Minister will present the Free SHS Bill to Parliament. Chapter five of the Constitution provides some aspirational indicatives," Afenyo-Markin explained.

 "Those are not justiciable, but once by a policy of the government, an aspiration as a message by the constitution is put into action then to make it justiciable, you enact."

He further elaborated, "In other words, there are provisions in the constitution that you cannot enforce, you cannot claim the right to those provisions. 

The fact that they are there does not mean that you can apply to the court to enforce those rights; they are aspirational."