Former Chief of Defence Staff Brigadier General Joseph Nunoo-Mensah has lashed out at government over its free SHS programme, arguing it should have been first piloted to assess implementation challenges.
“If you are going to launch a policy which is new, you first test it” he told Joy News.
He pointed out that the failure by government to do this has resulted in unprecedented challenges as amenities in schools are put under extreme pressure.
The Klo-Agogo Senior High School in the Eastern region is one of many schools where dormitories are over-crowded. Some students say they have to defecate in the open because of inadequate toilet facilities in the school.
Enrolment at the Eastern Region secondary school increased by at least 650 more students due to the free SHS programme.
At Vitting SHS and Kalipohini SHS, both in the Northern Region, first-year students of the two schools – beneficiaries of the free education policy – sleep in the open or under trees, exposing them to attacks from both reptiles and robbers.
The government has said it expects the roll-out of the free SHS policy will throw up challenges but has pledged to resolve them.
The Education ministry has also explained, the number of students assigned to schools were influenced by the vacancies declared by the school heads.
Weighing in, Brigadier General Nunoo Mensah said the hurried launch of policies or programmes without any testing only happen in civilian institutions. It cannot happen in the military, he said.
“Let me be a bit frank here. You cannot launch a major policy like this and then there are all kinds of problems”, he said.
He blamed the rush to promise and deliver on the politician’s desire for votes.
“You make promises to win power and you find that it is difficult to implement the polices you have made..it happens everywhere”
The former Brigadier General wants politicians to be measured in the kinds of promises they make to secure power, to avoid some of these challenges.