"He who opens a school door, closes a prison” - Victor Huge
In the year 2015, I usually visited the market in the heart of the country's capital, Accra. The market was never less crowded. However, with time, I learnt how to find my way in and out without losing any property of mine.
There is one incident that however took me off guard on a particular sunny Saturday afternoon while I was shopping at the Makola market.
One way or the other, I did not know the whereabouts of my purse as it was no more where I remembered placing it; my bag. I suddenly felt cold shivers as I had a lot of money in that purse. In my desperation to recollect my last juncture before where I found myself, I bumped into this dog chain seller and a head potter.
Both were 15 years of age and they had my purse which they eventually handed over to me. To my uttermost surprise, the contents of the purse were intact. Wow! I was very much impressed.
They became my friends from whom I later found out were on the streets selling and doing the menial jobs at their tender ages because their families did not have the resources to push them higher the education ladder after their Junior High School education.
I got quite interested in them both and was willing to help them move on in life. Due to this decision, I was more than elated when the Akuffo-Addo led administration preached the gospel of Free Senior High School (SHS) Education for all.
Lo and behold, the policy was implemented and my little friends got the opportunity to further their education to the Secondary level.
As I sit by my dining table and sipping hot coffee, I ask myself: if SHS education was not made free of charge, what would have become of these two children who represent the many other children who found themselves swimming in this same pot of soup?
Two years into the Akufo-Addo administration
The Akufo-Addo led administration has been putting in measures towards ensuring a better Ghana for all its citizens since it won political power and was sworn into office in January 2016.
The free SHS mantra which happens to be of the flagship policy of his government has been put in place to ensure every Ghanaian child receives good and quality secondary education. The inability of most Ghanaian parents to raise school fees to push their children into SHS has left most of them wandering on the streets helplessly and hopelessly.
To resolve such problematic situation, this particular policy was implemented to help the government absorb all approved school fees, textbooks, and other learning materials. In order to ensure that every child is covered under the policy, the government has gone ahead to have a double track system where the students go to school in batches.
The policy is a move geared towards the lines of reducing the high rate of illiteracy swallowing the country. Not only does education eradicate illiteracy, ignorance and unwanted pregnancies but it goes a long way in promoting innovation, invention and provides opportunities to rise to global platforms.
Another outstanding policy of this administration is that of Planting for Food and Jobs. In leaving no sector underdeveloped, this government has taken upon itself, to involve the youth especially in developing the agricultural sector and help address its declining growth.
The President has on many occasions given his word that his government would boost the agricultural industry to feed the many mouths Ghana has. In this regard, a Planting for Food and Jobs campaign policy has been introduced and it serves as a clarion call on every single Ghanaian to farm in their own little ways.
The policy implies that the government supplies improved seeds and fertilizers to farmers at subsidized prices (50% subsidy), provides free extension services to farmers as well as marketing opportunities when harvest is due.
Last but not least, a technological platform to monitor and track activities and progress of farmers through a database system (E-agriculture). The campaign is a five-year policy which aims at increasing food productivity and ensuring food security for the country as well. I wonder who can go about their daily activities if there is no food for consumption.
Interestingly, the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) has gone digital under this very administration. There are no more needs for long queues and waking up at dawn just to have your NHIS renewed or created.
All you need to do is sit in the comfort of your home, dial the requested code using any of our telecommunication networks, follow the options as given and you will get your card created or renewed. I can’t help but clap for this initiative as it is not only simple and convenient but create the avenue for all its citizens to be hooked on and access the scheme.
We can all attest that the fight against illegal mining “Galamsey”, which had great support from the government, did us more good than harm.
The President himself pledged allegiance towards this action when he made mention that, “mining is an integral part of our country’s heritage but what his administration would not condone was illegal mining to compromise the country’s environment, standards and best global practices.
According to him, “our lands and, water bodies and forests are also part of our heritage. “I swore an oath before the almighty and before Ghanaians to govern in accordance with the rule of law, and also to protect the territorial integrity of our nation.
I am mandated by the laws of the land to protect our lands and water bodies”. His administration is bent at all cost to eradicate illegal mining and its perpetrators from the system. It is only a patriotic person that stands bold for their country no matter the critique.
Most of our roads are under construction, our railway system is being renovated, the national ID card for all Ghanaians is also in progress, just to mention but a few. Other sectors like the banking industry might have faced some challenges but the government is up and doing on its toes to sanitize the sector and make it less dangerous for its citizens.
There are many more policies underway. Policies that will improve the living conditions of citizens of our motherland. The government may have lapses just as all governments across the world but gradually filling the potholes. A lot of water might have passed under the bridge but we should know that this administration is ready for revival.
Yes! Day in, day out, Ghanaians have their own expectations from the government. Some seem unreasonable, unachievable but at the end it is the duty of those voted into power to oversee the affairs of the country, to put its citizens at heart as democracy is of the people, by the people and for the people as defined by Abraham Lincoln.
Minority, they say have a say but majority have their way. We the people are the majority. The governance of the country does not only lie on the seat of those in power. We form the government and we are the government. There would be no them without us. Ghana can be what we want it to be if we would all put our hands together to the wheel to help clothe Ghana in gold. God bless our homeland Ghana.
Mabel Delassie Awuku
The writer is a staff of the Information Services Department (ISD)