John Dramani Mahama, the flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has revealed that the “FA NINYINAA” policy intended to absorb the full fees of Ghanaian students who will be admitted to tertiary institutions in the 2020/2021 academic year, is only an enhancement of an existing policy.
Shooting down assertions of the “FA NINYINAA” policy being an afterthought and with the country being days away to heading to the polls, the NDC flagbearer said, “this is not a new announcement, it’s an enhancement of an existing policy” and so, “it is in our manifesto, all we’ve done is to enhance it”.
“What happens is, our education committee came up with the recommendation and said that the fees the first years have to pay are quite bigger than what the continuing students pay and so, if you do the’kyemp3’ policy, they are not likely to benefit as much as the continuing students and so we should do something more significant for them. They did the costing and they brought it. The chairman called me and said based on the recommendation of the committee, they decided that [for] first years, they’ll cover the full fees so that they can cushion them for the first year and for the continuing students they do the ‘kyemp3’ policy. So, it was approved and then announced.
“For the kyemp3 that was across, from first year to fourth year, it came to about four hundred and something million and so if we add the additional, we are adding only another fifty percent to first years, it will come to a little over five hundred and something million.”
He further indicated that, as days progresses “we are going to announce more initiatives because you come across some things that were not captured completely”.
“We added boarding students in 2016. 140,000 boarding students were added in 2016. What we did was we started with day students because it was easier to deal with day students. In 2016/2017 academic year we added the boarding students and we started with rural and deprived schools, so we were going to continue expanding it until we’ve got everybody covered. So, that was the system we launched because the constitution states progressively free.
“But even Nana Akufo-Addo when he came and took over and decided to continue, I’d say the free SHS, he did not do it once, he did it progressively. So, if I launched progressively free senior high school, what’s wrong with the claim?”
To this end, Mr. Mahama explained it really isn’t about who “initiated it” as he made the argument in the context of “why would I have launched it and come back to cancel it”.
“When we left office, the education minister said we left a debt of GHC39 million for free SHS, what free SHS was that? And in the budget statement of 2017, it is captured there, the expenditure that we did in the previous year on free SHS”.