Minority Not Against Free SHS Bill – Clement Apaak

The Minority in Parliament, has said it is not against government’s flagship Free Senior High School (FSHS) policy and will not oppose passage of a bill that seeks to bind future governments.

Deputy Ranking Member on the Education Committee in Parliament, Dr Clement Abas Apaak, said even though the Caucus awaits to see the proposed bill and examine its contents in detail, they have no challenge supporting the bill in principle.

According to him, this position by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) minority, is not different from that of their 2024 flagbearer, John Dramani Mahama.

In a statement, Dr Apaak, who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for Builsa South, said the NDC flagbearer, has already said the policy is a good initiative, hence expressed his readiness to work with the Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary School (CHASS) to enhance it, if elected.

“We are not opposed to FSHS and therefore cannot be opposed to a proposed bill to bind future government to it. As John Dramani Mahama noted during his meeting with the national leadership of CHASS on May 8th, 2024, he will work with them and all stakeholders to make FSHS better,” in a statement copied The Anchor yesterday.

He explained that, what the former president has spoken against, is the implementation challenges which he is promising to review in consultation with stakeholders to make it better.

Touching on some of these challenges, Dr Apaak, listed them as inadequate academic and residential infrastructure, inadequate and poor quality food, inadequate furniture; erratic academic calendar, among others.

He said, while they wait for the bill, the Minority wants to make it clear to the public that its side, is not against the policy and won’t oppose it when it finally final finds its way to the August House.

“Our Flagbearer, John Dramani Mahama, has indicated time without number that, the FSHS policy is a good policy bedeviled with implementation challenges: inadequate academic and residential infrastructure; inadequate and poor quality food; inadequate furniture; erratic academic calendar, among others. John Dramani Mahama has pledged to address these challenges to make FSHS better”.

So, while we wait to see the proposed bill and examine its contents in detail, in principle, we have no challenge supporting a bill seeking to ensure its future”, Dr Apaak stated.

The reaction by the NDC MP, follows announcement by Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, that Parliament is ready to introduce a Free Senior High School bill.

The legislation, will make the implementation of the free SHS policy binding on successive governments.

The Effutu MP, said this during a media briefing ahead of Parliament’s resumption from break on Tuesday, June 11, 2024.

He indicated that, a finalized bill is ready for presentation by the Education Minister, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum. According to him, the measure is to prevent any government from attempting to abort the policy.

The Majority Leader, insisted that “If we consider it [Free SHS bill] as a House, what that means is that it becomes mandatory for governments to implement this.”

“Unless it is repealed, no government would have the right to say, I am not going to enforce Free SHS because now it is law, so if you fail, a citizen can apply to the court as his bona fide and the court can exact justice in that citizen’s favor,” he said.

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