Free SHS: Get GES, Adutwum’s side of the story – Adom-Otchere to Joy FM

Host of Good Evening Ghana, Paul Adom-Otchere, has admonished Multimedia Group Limited-owned, Joy FM to engage the Ghana Education Service (GES) and the Ministry of Education over challenges facing the implementation of the free SHS policy as shared on their network by some students and teachers.

“You have a story, you don’t get the side of the ministry and go and publish it. How do we solve the problem?” Adom-Otchere lamented.

During his editorial segment, Thursday, the Metro TV senior journalist asked a barrage of questions concerning series of stories published by Joy FM on its website – myjoyonline.com – which is making President Akufo-Addo’s flagship, Free Senior High School programme unpopular.

“If you publish the story without telling the most important people the relevant authority who can correct it because you can’t stop errors from happening in the society like Ghana and the big industry like education.”

According to Adom-Otchere, the Ghanaian society is prone to bloopers, hence, moving forward the media should work hand in hand with the government in resolving challenges facing the nation.

“You can’t stop errors from happening. The errors will happen, so, the Minister, GES sit in Accra. The regional director of education is in the capital city of the region. If he’s in the Bono Region, he’s in Sunyani. If Ahafo, he’s in Goaso. If Northern, Tamale. If North East, Yendi. He doesn’t know and will not know what’s happening everywhere. That’s why media is important. The media picks it up, you have to necessarily report it to them. But if you publish it without a mechanism to solve the problem then what are we doing?”

Adom-Otchere said verification of such stories is problematic owing the media house was economical divulging some salient details.

“No one is doubting what the child is saying. But we don’t know whether that child is truly a student, the school is not mentioned (which I can understand) but that creates difficulties for the story. That creates opaque hurdles for the story because we don’t know the child. It could be anybody speaking in such a polarized political system.

Joy FM, a member of the Multimedia conglomerate on its Super Morning Show this week gave an audience to students and teachers to share some challenges confronting the implementation of the free SHS policy.

Among other issues, they bitterly lamented about the poor infrastructure, inadequate classrooms, unbalanced diets, and irregular academic calendar which is affecting studies.

Due to such challenges, they implored the government to allow parents who can afford to pay for the fees of their wards to be allowed to do so.

Speaking on the Good Evening Ghana programme, Adom-Otchere reiterated the need for partnership between the media and government to ensure the betterment of the country.

“I’m urging media, if you can, you do a good story like that you have to inform the authority. Get their side of the story and you can and say the lady is from a certain school that we cannot mention we have spoken to the Minister or Director of GES about that should this is what the minister said. Then the minister comes to say we have observed the food is bad and we have done this about it or it is not true we don’t know the public can get something reasonable to work with because our concern here is to solve the problem. Our concern is not to publish something to create disaffection for a policy. No. That’s not what the media do. It is to solve a problem.”

He also said the policy is good and has been hailed by countries across the African continent therefore, being diabolical about challenging confronting it isn’t the way to go.

“Every Ghana agrees with free SHS. There’s no single Ghanaian who at the launch thought that it was a bad policy and there’s no argument that can be sustained that free SHS is a bad policy. It’s not policy. Dr. Raymond Atuguba – he used to be the secretary to [former] President Mahama – he’s now the Dean of Faculty of Law. He said free SHS should be codified. It should go to Parliament and become a law. There’s no single Ghanaian who’d raise issues about free SHS or anybody anywhere. Other countries have come to copy. The famous Rwanda they have come to Ghana to copy free SHS.”

“If there are stories of free SHS that we are not good it shouldn’t be exploited by propagandists. It should be presented in a way that solves the problem because we have to solve the problem because the policy is a great policy. Ghana is not the only one doing the policy. Every country that you admire has free SHS. I think that’s what we always forget.”

The Free Secondary High School (Free SHS) education policy in Ghana was a government initiative implemented in the 2017 September presidential administration of Nana Akufo-Addo.

The programme has been widely hailed as a game-changer as more than a million students currently have access to second-cycle education with the government bearing the cost.

 

By: Bernard Ralph Adams | Metrotvonline.com | Ghana

 

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