Palm Wine Joint

The Best Way to Implement Free SHS

AKUFO ADDO

I was already in the Accra High Court complex. I was there to confirm if our case will be heard at the time the court fixed for it to be heard. This is Ghana, things like this can change at the flip of a hat. I called the lawyer I was working with to relay the confirmation. He in turn told me I needed to go back to the office to get his robe and wig.

I took my favorite means of transportation, a motorbike. On that day, of all days, I had the worst motorbike ride ever. I was going from Ministries to Adabraka and for some reason, the rider decided to pass through the Korle Gonno and go all the way to Danquah Circle, Kaneshie before coming back to Adabraka. He later confessed that, he worked at Madina so didn’t know any other route. Why didn’t I direct him? I love adventure. It doesn’t stop me from getting angry for time wasted.

Because of the anger I felt towards this bike rider, I went back to the court in a taxi. Uncharacteristic of me. These days, I have lawyers calling me to tell me they are riding “okada” because of me. I can’t help it, people, I inspire people. I had picked up the lawyer’s robe and wig at this point and was holding it. The taxi driver saw the robe and wig and asked if I was a lawyer. I told him, no, “I just worked with some.” His next question surprised me. He asked if I get to meet the president or his ministers.

In the mind of many Ghanaians, politics and law are the same thing. They are not entirely off base to think that way when most of the most popular lawyers we have in Ghana are in politics or only talk politics in the media. I explained to him that I worked in the law and not politics. He said, he knows but he also knows a lot of politicians come to the High Court complex so I’m likely to meet some. No need to argue that, the conversation quickly went to why he wanted to know if I knew anyone in government.

This happened last year when the government had just started implementing the Free SHS programme. This taxi driver believed he had an idea on how to best implement the program.

His exact sentiment was, we had too many General Arts students in Ghana. Every kid in Ghana who goes to SHS wants to go and read General Arts. He believed those kids become journalist who contribute nothing to the country but big English. He didn’t have a problem with journalists, he had a problem with the fact that, they know nothing but English so contribute nothing to the country but English. I wanted to disagree with him because I have worked as a journalist for ten years but I agreed with him because I have worked as a journalist for ten years. The level of intelligence in the inky fraternity in Ghana is low.

This taxi driver believed the government should use the Free SHS to encourage kids to go into other careers. He believed the free SHS should start with technical and vocational students. Technical and vocational studies in this country, he believed, should be free first. He believed if that is not done, in years to come, we were not going to have carpenters, masons and other artisans in this country. Everybody will be a journalist.

I didn’t necessarily agree with his premise but I got the sentiment. We, as a country, don’t have an education policy that addresses the problem of this country or seek to point students towards an area of need. What is the current need of Ghana, human resource-wise? What will be the future human resource? Can we, by policy, get kids to pay attention to those areas?

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