He said the issue of free SHS was a constitutional provision, and not the vision of any political leader or political party, adding, “nobody should attempt to steal the vision of the constitution.”
Therefore, he said, the NDC would try to achieve the true free universal basic education by 2016 and work aggressively to make SHS education more affordable by increasing subsidy.
President Mahama, who is also the Presidential candidate of the NDC for Election 2012, said this when he outlined the NDC’s vision for election 2012 and beyond, at the Institute of Economic Affairs's Evening Encounter in Accra Thursday.
His statement centred around the four thematic areas of the NDC’s manifesto – investing in people, accelerated economic growth, infrastructure development and transparent and accountable governance.
It was the first time a sitting President was participating in the IEA evening encounter.
President Mahama said the issue now was not about free education since many pupils at the basic level did not have access to schools, and that the focus should be on how to achieve equity by building more schools to accommodate the students.
“Free SHS must be implemented on a proper roadmap not because somebody wants to win the election. The issue should not be based on the whimsical promise of a political leader,” he contended.
The President said the NDC intended to build 200 SHSs across the country by 2016 to expand access to secondary education.
In addition, he said, extra resources would be made available to reduce the burden on parents by increasing subsidy to SHS.
Again, he said, the NDC government would ensure the standardization of SHS fees to cut off unwarranted charges.
Ten new teacher colleges would be constructed to train teachers and a university established in the Eastern Region, he said, and added that steps would be taken to make polytechnics fully fledged tertiary institutions.