For quite some time now, I’ve been pondering the stance of those who oppose the Free Senior High School (S.H.S.) Policy in Ghana, particularly the Members of Parliament affiliated with the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
This contemplation stems from a conversation I had with a former school colleague, now an MP, who shared his perspective on the matter.
According to my MP colleague, the period preceding the implementation of the Free S.H.S. Policy, especially in the month of September, was a recurring nightmare for him. This was the time when first-year Junior High School graduates gained admission to Senior High Schools, and the financial burden of school fees fell on his shoulders. His house would be inundated by parents and students as early as 5 a.m., seeking financial assistance for their education.
It’s not just about high school fees, though. My colleague emphasized that even students entering tertiary institutions relied on him for financial support. The introduction of the Free S.H.S. Policy by the Nana Addo-led government significantly alleviated this burden for both the MP and his constituents.
What puzzles me is the opposition to this pro-poor policy by the NDC MPs, especially when their own constituents are direct beneficiaries. It raises the question: Are these MPs willing to step up and cover the school fees for Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) graduates entering Senior High Schools? The irony is stark—some of these MPs have themselves benefited from various policies in the past, yet they vehemently oppose a policy that brings relief to their constituents and even themselves.
In other countries, such opposition to a policy directly benefiting the populace might result in the loss of parliamentary seats.
However, in Ghana, the lack of appreciation from the beneficiaries seems to shield these MPs. It’s a paradoxical situation where those fighting against a policy that has brought substantial positive changes seem immune to the consequences they might face in a different political context.
As I seek to understand the motivations behind this opposition, I can’t help but wonder whether these MPs realize the impact of the Free S.H.S. Policy on the lives of their constituents and if they are genuinely prepared to support the education of BECE graduates from their own pockets.