President Mahama’s Last Minute U-turn on Nursing Allowance –Policy or Politics?
President Mahama recently announced the restoration of nursing student allowance despite the earlier claim that it is the right policy for Ghana. Making the reversal announcement, the president cited delays in the legal framework to migrate nursing students to the student loan scheme. The stated reason notwithstanding, it is hard to take President Mahama at his word, given the timing of his decision.
However, let’s make the assumption that President Mahama and the NDC restored the allowance to the benefit of students rather than for political interest. To validate this national interest assumption, President Mahama, and the NDC must do one of two things.
President Mahama must explain to Ghanaians in retrospect, whether he thinks the initial decision to end the allowance is a failure hence, the change or reversal. Change is largely a function of new information or knowledge and time. Therefore, it is fair to suggest that the NDC has come to the knowledge that it is wrong or misguided to cancel the allowance program in the first.
Though the president and the NDC might find it self-defeating to admit failure, it is the responsible and moral thing to do. John Dewey, the American philosopher, underscores the importance of taking responsibility for one’s failure when he says “failure is instructive. The person who really thinks learns quite as much from his failure as from his successes.”
To that end, it is helpful for President Mahama and the NDC to come clean about their real motivation to restore the allowance once again. In the least, it would help the President most especially, to establish policy integrity with Ghanaians.
Finally, President Mahama and the NDC must explain to Ghanaians if they think today, that, Ghana has reached a stage where its supply of nurses is in keeping with population growth, present, and future. This is explanation crucial because the government argued at the time that the cancellation was necessary to increase student intake. So, if the government is reversing that same decision three or so years later, then, Ghana deserve to know whether or not the need to enhance student enrollment has been met or no longer necessary. The country needs to know what has changed.
In sum, it is commendable that President Mahama and the NDC has changed the policy to reflect the views of the majority. However, we cannot attribute genuine motive to the government, until they explain the defining premise beyond the convenient citation of a technical committee.
By Richard Ahiagbah