Former President Mahama said that the widely reported failing free SHS issue is as a result of lack of consultation on the part of President Nana Addo
The flagship policy of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) – Free Secondary education – seems to have been greeted with a new set of challenges in recent times.
The NPP recently overcame the massive criticisms from opposition stakeholders regarding the implementation of the free SHS policy. However, the party is now faced with the challenge of maintaining the system – another topic for discussion on various media platforms.
The Free SHS policy promised by the NPP government during the 2016 electioneering entails free public senior high school education for all eligible Ghanaians. from the
This policy which started in the 2017/2018 academic year – September 2017, ensures that there are no admission fees, no library fees, no science center fees, no computer laboratory fees, no examination fees, no utility fees and other charges.
There are also privileges of free textbooks, free boarding and free meals and day students will get a meal at school for free.
Key political stakeholders have feared that the free SHS already in motion may not be sustained by the government as proper analysis for its sustanability was not done by the ruling givernment before it kicked off.
Former President Mahama who more or less leads this call, says there was no consultation prior to the implementation of the policy against established norms.
The former President has chided President Nana Addo over his rash decision to implement what has been termed failing free SHS policy.
Mahama who was speaking at the end of a health walk organized by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in Tarkwa in the Western Region on Saturday, said most policies introduced by former presidents, have been done after extensive stakeholders meeting.
In Nana Addo’s case he said, no such thing was done, as the presidnet did not deem it fit to consult other experienced hands in that regard.
Citing the Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education which took 15 years to implement, Mahama said that rushing to implement Free SHS under 1 year by the NPP was not a wise decision.
Mahama Calls for National Dialogue to Save ‘failing’ Free SHS
The former president has called for a national stakeholders conference on how to finance Free SHS. Mahama urged the government to start a national dialogue and set up a stakeholder conference on the failing free SHS policy to save the programme.
Also citing other national interventions like National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), which took years to implement, Mahama said that more experiecned hands should be consulted if the new policy will be a success.
Afenyo-Markin pushes for ‘Free SHS Tax’ on Ghanaians
In light of recent uncertaintities pertaining to the fate of the Free SHS, NPP Member of Parliament for Effutu, Alex Afenyo Markin, has said that government could consider taxing Ghanaians in order to raise funds to finance the free SHS policy.
In reaction to that a former Deputy Education Minister and NDC MO for North Tongu, said the amount allocated for the policy in the 2018 budget, is woefully inadequate.
But Afenyo Markin believes that, with more investment needed in providing infrastructure for the schools across the country, funds raised from a special tax for the Free SHS policy could complement the sector’s budgetary allocation.