Akufo Addo Snatching Mahama’s Free University Policy

In a rather subtle act of political appropriation, President Akufo-Addo has hinted that his
administration would be implementing free tertiary education in the country if given a
second chance.

Incidentally, the President is only making this promise after the opposition National
Democratic Congress (NDC) gave a hint several days ago that its manifesto will contain the
party’s flagship policy of making tertiary and technical education free in the country.
While being interviewed this weekend on Kumasi-based Wuntumi Radio, President Akufo Addo, in
reference to the planned free university education, stated:  “I don’t want to give a timeline but I’m sure
it’s possible,” he said.
“For now what has been put in place is a system where students at the tertiary level are provided
loans while in school to help them cater for their needs but we’re considering free Tertiary education
too.” 
He was, however, quick to acknowledge that the country does not have the needed
resources to implement such an ambitious programme and has proposed a possible way to
go around the lack of resources.
He said, “Right now, our resources cannot allow it, but we can organise a system that will
allow government to seek loans for all university admissions-a revolving fund that will be
repaid. We are working on it and it will be one of the things that will come out of the
manifesto.”
Akufo Addo’s NPP government is known for its Free Senior High School (Free SHS) and it
is already struggling to gather needed financial resources to maintain the policy at an
optimal level. The sudden attempt to dabble into free university education in addition to the
headache of the Free SHS has prompted critics to see his announcement as either theft of
a policy plan of the NDC, or simply, an empty political talk to score re-election points.
Apparently, the NDC’s presidential candidate, John Dramani Mahama has been flirting with
the idea of free university education in Ghana since 2016.
According to him, his administration to make tertiary education free, but that will be dependent on
a number of factors including an improvement in the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
In January 2020, ex-President Mahama announced plans for free Technical and Vocational
Education (TVET) at all levels. He has also announced the establishment of TVET universities in
each of the six newly created regions.
“I’ll make technical and vocational education in Ghana, free of charge. I note that this has generated a
positive reception from Ghanaians. Let me assure that, our program of technical and vocational
education are comprehensive and far-reaching. The free TVET will operate from all levels from the
second cycle to tertiary,” he said at a forum.
However, on July 22, an NDC communications member in the Ashanti Region, Onasis Rosely
Kobby stated categorically that free university education is one of the main policy proposals
of the NDC as captured in their yet-to-be released official manifesto.

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