The Minority is Opposed to Free SHS Bill – Afenyo-Markin

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The Minority is Opposed to Free SHS Bill – Afenyo-Markin
The Minority is Opposed to Free SHS Bill – Afenyo-Markin

Africa-Press – Ghana. The Majority Leader Alexander Afenyo-Markin has accused the Minority in Parliament of not wanting to commit itself to the Free Senior High School Bill which, when approved, will regulate the Free SHS policy which is currently in operation.

Afenyo-Markin says the National Democratic Congress (NDC) as a party is also opposed to the bill and has already communicated that through their ranking member on the Committee of Education, Peter Nortsu Kotoe.

Addressing journalists in Parliament on Tuesday, June 25, he said “We have heard the ranking member on education, the honorable member for Akatsi North, strongly opposing the free SHS bill. Clearly, the NDC minority does not want to commit itself to free SHS, and the fact that we want to enact a law to make it mandatory.

Free Senior High School Bill to be presented to Parliament

“We have stated time without number that those provisions in the constitution that talk about free SHS are very aspirational, they are aspirational provisions so the way to go is to enact a law to regulate the free SHS policy which is currently in operation.

“The NDC is opposed to this and they have spoken through their ranking member. we want them to tell Ghanaians whether free SHS is not their priority as a responsible opposition.

“The Ministry of Education is going to ferry the bill through to Parliament, we are ready and that is what as part of the engagement process we engage them but they are adamant. The NDC is not ready for the free SHS bill, it is clear their spokesperson on education has been very loud. The last time I tried to tease the matter on the floor he avoided a response, he stayed clear of it and was not ready to commit himself. So we know that in parliament the caucus speaks through its spokesperson and he is the ranking member on education, he is the NDC spokesperson on education, and he says he is opposed to the free SHS bill because there is some provision in the constitution, they should tell us why they are opposed to the bill.”

Akufo-Addo approves free SHS Bill; to be submitted for consideration by Parliament next week – Afenyo-Markin

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has already given an executive approval of the bill.

Two weeks ago, the Majority Leader said the chapter of the Constitution that provided for free education had aspirational initiatives, which were not justiciable.

Buttressing the essence of enacting a law on the free SHS programme, Mr Afenyo-Markin said there were provisions in the Constitution that could not be enforced and “you cannot claim the right to those provisions”.

He explained that the fact that those provisions existed did not mean that “you can apply to the court to enforce those rights as they are merely aspirational.”

“Now, when it gets to the point where a government lifts it to give life to it, there is the need to enact a law to regulate same. In doing so, it would have been given life to become justiciable to allow a court to rely on it to make orders, enforce certain rights and take certain actions,” he explained.

He, therefore, expressed the hope for the House to pass the bill which would make the free SHS policy enforceable, regardless of the government in power.

Speaking in parliament on Friday, June 21 on the business statement for the ensuing week, the Effutu MP said; “We have some very important bills, the affirmative action bill, the national service authority bill, we also have the all-important free SHS bill which has received executive approval and it’s on its way to this house. I want to urge colleagues that we are in this together,” he noted.

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