Family & Friends Web Revealed……..
What would have come off as a genuine award deserved by Ghana’s President; Akufo-Addo in faraway Rwanda for implementing the free Senior High School(SHS) programme in Ghana, has sparked a wave of speculation and ridicule in certain circles.
Some hold the view that, the honour was only a publicity stunt by the African Leadership University (ALU) owned by South Africa-based Ghanaian, Fred Swaniker.
He faces accusations of failing to do basic due diligence on the subject, before awarding President Akufo-Addo.
Confusion has rocked Ghana’s second cycle education and most Ghanaian parents are helpless as the second batch of students make it to school without knowing whether there are beds to sleep on, classrooms, food to eat, books and other teaching and learning materials, to make their studies meaningful, thus awarding a President, who is only acting on political expediency is a slap on the face of Ghanaians.
The honour given President Akufo-Addo, by Fred Swaniker, whose uncle Thomas Svanikier, popularly called Tommy Svanikier, founder and executive chairman of Svani Group car dealers, is a known friend to the Akufo-Addo family, although he has many times been seen flirting with the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
The award comes as a publicity stunt cooked for President Akufo-Addo and his government by the nephew of a family friend, who is seen on foreign trips with the first family.
Recently, when Akufo-Addo took his family on a vacation to the UK, Tommy Svanikier and wife Johanna, were captured with the president. It had Bumpty Akufo-Addo, Nana Asante Bediatuo, First Lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo and many grandchildren.
“In recognition of his extraordinary commitment to education by implementing free universal education in Ghana, African Leadership University recognizes the President of the Republic of Ghana, His Excellency, NanaAddoDankwa Akufo-Addo for his exemplary leadership,” a citation the University presented to the President stated on Friday, September 7, 2018.
Tommy Svanikier’s wife Johanna Odonkor Svanikier, is the immediate past Ambassador of Ghana to France and Portugal. She was appointed by ex-President John Dramani Mahama.
Tommy Svanikier’s car company, had been the supplier of the Presidential fleet, including bulletproof cars since the Jerry John Rawlings administration.
Tommy Svanikier, have had the agreement made between the John Mahama government and Lonrho Ports Limited of United Kingdom (UK), for the development of an oil and gas Freeport in the Western Region.
Speaking prior to presenting the award, Mr Fred Swaniker, explained that President Akufo-Addo, embodies the meaning of the quote “education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world.”
According to him, Ghana, Africa, and indeed the world, is already witnessing the impact of the Free SHS policy on the lives of hundreds of thousands of Ghanaians, which for him, “is the reason number one that we thought he deserves this citation.”
In the first year of the implementation of the free SHS policy, 90,000 more students entered senior high schools in 2017 than they did in 2016.
Again, in 2018, the second year of the policy, 180,000 more students are to be admitted into senior high schools across the country, although they will all not go at the same time, due to a challenge of space, leading to the implementation of thedouble-track systemfrom this September.The double year-round system divides the entire student body and staff into two different tracks. So while one track is in school, the other is on vacation.
Former President, John Dramani Mahama and a litany of think tanks, including IMANI Africa and the Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC), slammed the system as needless.
ISODEC, for instance, attributed lack of due diligence on the part of government before implementing the fee-free education policy as the cause of the current crisis the nation is experiencing at the SHS level.
The National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) wants the government to proceed with caution by consulting stakeholders in education.
ISODEC believes is a hasty implementation process of the double-track system for Senior High Schools (SHSs).
“The speed with which government is trying to introduce the two-track SHS system i.e. two months from now, without any meaningful broad stakeholder consultations in consonance with the principles of good governance is worrying,” the governance and human rights non-governmental organization criticised the Education Ministry in a press statement.
ISODEC also said in the release issued in Accra on Tuesday, July 24 that, the hurried implementation of the double-track semester programme is characteristic of many policies by the Nana Akufo-Addo administration, warning that it is bad for sustainability of the policies.
NAGRAT President, Angel Carbonu, said “I would suggest that Prof. Anamuah and his team [who are pushing for the system] should start a stakeholder discussion on this issue. Let us not rush into something like that.”
“In the document that I saw, this policy is supposed to last for only five years because within the next five years, what we are hearing from the corridors of power is that government would have then built infrastructure to accommodate all the two streams. When that happens, what would you do with those teachers? We need to sit down and discuss this situation thoroughly as a nation. Let us not rush into something that will spite our faces over time,” Carbonu told Citi FM last week.
But speaking to Starr News, Deputy Education Minister, Dr. Adutwum, explained that the system would last for only seven years, to allow the government to address the accommodation challenges in the various SHSs after which the schools will revert to the normal education calendar.
“This is a stop-gap measure, even in all countries that have used it,” Dr Adutwum told Ultimate FM’s, Isaac Bediako Justice.
Also, the system, according to the Education Ministry, will offer students more instructional and contact hours with teachers.
Commenting on the system, the General Secretary of GNAT, David Acheampong, observed that the Association has no qualms with its introduction, however, the government will have to consider remunerating teachers to correspondent with the increased contact hours.
“For us we don’t have a problem with it so far as we are going to put some students back into the classrooms because looking at the figures that are being churned out this year over 100,000 of our children may not go to Senior Secondary School if such a policy is not adopted,” Mr Acheampong told Francis Abban on Morning Starr, Monday July 30.
However, he added that “our major concern is that is it [double tracking system] going to bring more work to the teacher? If it is going to bring more work on the teacher what is the compensation in there for the teacher? That’s basically what we are discussing.”
But Mr Fred Swaniker, explained the second reason for the award, the ALU Founder said, is the President’s belief in the ability of the youth.
“From the beginning, as he assumed office, he made it very clear that his number one priority was to ensure that the youth of Ghana got the opportunity, and were able to get jobs, and he’s implemented the policy of “One District, One Factory”, which is really about promoting the youth entrepreneurship, and making sure that the rural youth got an opportunity for employment,” he added.
Thirdly, he explained that President Akufo-Addo’s persistence and perseverance in not giving up on his vision of serving Ghana, according to Fred Swaniker, is one which has to be emulated by this generation of African youth.
“Nelson Mandela was in jail for 27 years, and I believe that one of the traits of great leaders is their persistence, they don’t give up until they achieve their vision. And our President ran for office twice, before he eventually won. And that I believe, is the mark of a great leader,” he said.
The final reason for the award, Fred Swaniker said, was his belief in African self-reliance.
“I remember watching him proudly in this video that was going around. It went viral, and many of you might have seen this video, and if you haven’t, then you should watch it. This was when the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, visited and he stood there, as our President told him about Ghana without aid and described his vision for African self-reliance and for Ghana’s self-reliance, where we will no longer depend on colonial powers like France,” he said.
The ALU Founder continued, “I have never felt more proud to be a Ghanaian than when I watched that video. So, Mr. President, thank you so much for really inspiring all of us to think about how as Africans, we can only drive our destiny and no longer rely on the rest of the world.”
Aside the award, Nana Akufo-Addo, also attended the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) in the Rwandan capital Kigali.