Free SHS Education Is Not NPP's Property � Kwesi Pratt

Kwesi Pratt, Managing Editor of the Insight newspaper, has disputed claims President John Mahama possibly stole a policy plan from the campaign message of his closest challenger in the 2012 General Elections, Nana Akufo Addo; during his State of the Nation Address. Speaking in an interview with Radio Gold, Kwesi Pratt noted that the free education policy spoken about by President Mahama in Parliament on Tuesday, is not the bonafide property of the New Patriotic Party (NPP). �It is not "an NPP policy", he said, but rather an entrenched provision stipulated in the country's constitution which every government is mandated to implement. He described as unfair, critics slamming the president for his commitment to provide free education to students in the country. President John Mahama, on Tuesday, announced that government will soon abolish fees in Senior High Schools for the 2015/2016 academic year. He said his administration will "progressively� introduce free SHS in Ghana. According to him, the Education Ministry in �consultation with other stakeholders has prepared a report on the roadmap for a progressive introduction of free secondary education in Ghana as required under the 1992 constitution," and further added that the "roadmap will be presented to cabinet for approval and subsequent implementation. Under the guidance of this roadmap, we can anticipate that fees for day students will be abolished at an estimated cost of GHȻ71 million in 2015/2016 academic year...Architectural drawings, designs and quantities have been completed. Sites for the schools have been selected and the procurement process for the first batch of schools is ongoing." Touching on the issue, Kwesi Pratt insisted that the NDC government never objected to the NPP's free education policy but rather argued that it was 'untimely' for the NPP to introduce such policy into the country's education system. He held that the NDC only opted for "quality education" but did not oppose the significance of government offering its citizens free access to education. "Everybody accepted the argument or the mandate by the constitution to progressively introduce free education that is in the constitution. It is not an NPP policy. It�s indeed the policy for all governments. All governments are enjoined to make sure that we have free education," he stated.