President Akufo-Addo has accused Accra based Joy FM running a campaign against his administration’s flagship program, the Free SHS policy. His comments come on the back of the spotlight put on the policy by the station this week where stakeholders spoke about the challenges confronting the policy.
A headmaster who spoke to the station on condition of anonymity said that the high number of students enrolled in the Free SHS programme has resulted in inadequate accommodation facilities forcing some students to sleep on the floor.
“They sleep on the floor. It’s a normal thing. Congestion is all over. It’s a common phenomenon we are facing.”
Some parents and students also complained about numerous challenges facing the program with a call on government to fix the problems to make the policy more effective. A similar call has also been made by some Education Think Tanks as well.
Deputy Director-General of the Ghana Education Service, was also part of the discussions as he sought to speak to the issues raised by the stakeholders and beneficiaries.
But speaking at a special congregation in his honour at the University of Cape Coast to confer an honorary doctorate on him by the institution, President Akufo-Addo in furtherance of his position that there was no culture of silence as was being suggested by some Ghanaians, said that government fending off vile attacks cannot be misconstrued as a culture of silence.
“A radio station is currently running a campaign against free SHS. During the last election, I got the clear impression, Free SHS had been endorsed by all political parties and all we needed to do was to keep improving it. Would a spirited defense of the free SHS policy constitute an attack on press freedom? I wonder. It cannot be that everyone has a right of reply, except members of the government and officers, nor can it be that challenging and the opinions expressed by a journalist, constitutes an attack on press freedom”.
According to the President, for a person of his caliber who has been at the receiving end of vitriolic attacks throughout his political life, it’s surprising some persons say he is presiding over an era of culture of silence.
“What I believe may be sorely lacking in our society today is the need to listen to each other more knowledge, has never been a gift. Granted, exclusively to one group. We must listen and hear each other more. And for me personally, I find it ironic that the presidency of a man who has been and continues to be daily, the most vilified political figure of his generation can be accused of presiding over a culture of silence. There’s no midnight knock on the door in Ghana for Office of dissenting views, nor will that be during my presidency”.