President Nana Addo says the free SHS policy will ensure that Ghanaians who qualify for SHS are not burdened with financial difficulties
President Nana Addo’s assurance of delivering his promise of a free Senior High School (SHS) policy, has raised some pertinent questions among stakeholders.
Considering the current situation of the economy, some stakeholders have attempted to wade in on the issue of free SHS policy anticipated by beneficiaries to start in September this year. Policy think tank IMANI has said that the much anticipated policy might experience some setbacks as the nation’s purse is not deep enough for the exercise.
Head of Economics at IMANI, Patrick Stephenson who expressed these doubts, has queried the new government for wanting to implement such policy when the country’s economy is literally on crutches. According to Mr. Stephenson, the idea itself may not be a problem, but the President should be more specific and emphatic on how such policy can be related within the structure of the educational system so that only the targeted persons get to benefit.
Ablakwa Expresses Concerns
Also considering financial constraints; former Deputy Education Minister, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has also shared some words of advice with the President on the Free SHS policy. According to him, the comprehensive free education policy announced by the president only caters for equity with little or no information about how to address the access and quality aspects which are important in the education sector development.
Ablakwa has urged the new government to act with caution as it prepares to commence the free education policy.
On February 11, the President promised to deliver on the promise; saying that the free SHS policy will ensure that Ghanaians who qualify for SHS are not burdened with financial difficulties.
While delivering a speech at the 60th Anniversary celebration of Okuapeman School in the Eastern Region, Nana Addo assured that his government will fully implement the free SHS policy from September 2017 -the start of the 2017/2018 academic year. This is in fulfillment of a campaign promise the NPP made in 2012 and reiterated in the 2016 electioneering campaign.
Free SHS Policy
In case you are still wondering what Nana Addo’s free SHS policy is all about. During the 2016 electioneering, the President among other things, promised to implement a free senior high school education in the country. Free SHS was a key campaign promise of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the 2012 and 2016 general elections.
The President has said that his government will begin the implementation of its campaign promise to provide free public senior high school education for all eligible Ghanaians from the 2017/2018 academic year. Nana Addo during the 60th anniversary themed “One Vision, Many lives” said the policy was aimed at building an educated populace for speedy national development and progress.
The President told students, past students as well as leadership of the school; that boarding fees, admission fees, library fees, examination fees along with tuition fee will be completely absorbed by the government when the policy is put into action in September this year.
According to Nana Addo; in addition to tuition, which is already free, the policy when implemented will ensure that there will be no admission fees, no library fees, no science centre fees, no computer laboratory fees, no examination fees, no utility fees and all the other charges. He added that there will be free textbooks, free boarding and free meals and day students will get a meal at school for free.
The president also said the policy will cover agricultural, vocational and technical institutions at the high school level. Nana Addo’s assurance drew lots of cheers from the excited crowd gathered at the event.
Why Nana Addo is Committed to fulfilling SHS Policy
President Akufo-Addo at the event expressed his profound zeal to provide quality education for Ghanaian citizens; just like what is attainable in Western countries. Nana Addo said the absence of quality education was the missing link in Ghana’s economic development hence, his desire to revamp the system.
For that reason, Nana Addo said he will ensure that SHS education will be entirely free for every Ghanaian child; for a better tomorrow.
Nana Addo also said that his administration will liaise with GNAT to develop relevant incentives for teachers in the country.