Monday, September 7, 2009

A Tale Of Jokers!

The government has announced that the reduction in the years at the senior high school level, which it intended to revert to three years beginning this academic year, would take place from next year. By this announcement, junior high school leavers leaving school this year would enroll for a four year program instead of three. For many people including yours truly, the announcement came as a surprise; in the light of the fact that we had been led to believe that the children who were to enroll this year would be in school for three years.

The children, their parents and guardians had prepared themselves for a three year course, and for many of them, the announcement was a surprise. Indeed, a few weeks ago, a Deputy Director of Education and the Ghana Education Service (GES) had issued a press release ordering all heads of secondary schools to start preparing for three year programs. With this directive in mind, all the schools had been preparing for three year programs, and the late order coming from government and the Education Ministry is just going to create additional inconvenience.
That said I am getting increasingly worried about the conflicting signals we keep on getting from government. It points to a government that is confused and at sea and which really does not know what it is doing. Let me illustrate.

A few weeks ago, government announced that it had secured a consignment of crude oil from the government of Nigeria. The announcement also stated that the Nigerian government had also undertaken to start crude oil supplies to Ghana. That announcement came out in June. As we speak, the promised supplies have not arrived. Worse, the NDC government is now claiming that they cannot import crude oil for the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) because there is a huge debt and letters of credit cannot be raised. I ask myself, did the President know of these facts before he went into negotiations with the President of Nigeria? And if he did, was the Nigerian President aware before he promised us the crude oil? Clearly, either we are being lied to presently, or we were lied to previously. The claims that we were about to receive crude oil in June cannot exist, side by side, with the claims that we are hearing today that TOR is in debt.

This is not a President and government that can be trusted. Do you remember when President Atta Mills told the people of Ghana that he would be ensuring regular television and radio shows to tell the people of Ghana how the nation was faring? It has been nearly six months since he made this announcement. Nothing has happened. It paints a picture of a President who is not sincere, who promises one thing and delivers something that is completely other. I can cite further examples. Remember the ‘I’ll Be The President For All’ statement? Since President John Evans Atta Mills said that he would be a President for all, there have been many other Ghanaians who have come to believe that President Atta Mills is not a ‘President for all’. They have felt the vindictive bite of his administration and his pure bile, and they have come to the realization that this government does not mean them well, at all! Going back to why I believe that this government is not serious, I do not think that the Atta Mills administration has behaved responsibly in the matter of increasing the number of years at the SSS level. Indeed all of us know that it is a manifesto promise of the NDC government to reduce the number of years students spend at the SHS level.

Nobody is quibbling about that. However, in implementing manifesto promises, one expects governments to be guided by reality. It is clear that the President of the Atta Mills government, his Cabinet as well as the Minister of Education gave very little thought to the actual implementation of the manifesto promise. For instance, it has now been established that the four year SHS system is a matter of law. Before announcing that it was going to reduce the number of years, the government should have looked at the feasibility of ensuring its passage as a law in parliament. Again, President Atta Mills, his government and Cabinet should have done a study of the possibility of implementing the three year SHS before coming out with the announcement. Even after coming out with the announcement, they should have started taking immediate steps towards ensuring the implementation of the project.

It is clear that the government just made the announcement, then went to sleep, waiting on providence to ensure that the policy met muster. They were just hoping on luck and providence, and nothing else. They did not give a thought about the one million and one simple little things that it was necessary to do to ensure that the policy was successful!Indeed, we are being ruled by a bunch of jokers!Anyway, I am glad that they have seen sense this time round, and that in the long term, hopefully, they would allow good sense to be their guide.

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