General News of 2014-02-28

Free SHS will lower standards – NAGRAT, GNAT

The country’s two major teacher unions – the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) and Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) – have kicked against President John Dramani Mahama’s announcement that secondary education will be progressively free from 2015/2016 academic year.
The announcement was made on Tuesday, February 25 during President Mahama’s address to Parliament on the state of the nation.
“We are in favour of free SHS, but we are not happy with the way it is going to be done,” National President of NAGRAT, Christian Addai Opoku, told TV3’s Daniel Opoku on Thursday.
“If you look at it carefully because education is free at the basic level, standards have gone so low compared to the private schools,” he cited.
Mr Addai Opoku feared government’s announcement will stop parents from making the necessary investments in their wards’ education.
“The impression we are creating is that we are going to make every parent believe that if I send my child to senior high school, he is not supposed to pay anything,” he said.
“A parent that sends his child to public school knows that capitation grant is paid. Therefore, there is no need to pay money for books or for anything. Everything is free.”
For GNAT, last Tuesday’s promise, among many others by politicians, is only to score political points.
“It is just something to catch votes,” said Thomas Baafi, a Deputy General Secretary of GNAT.
Mr Baafi advised politicians to consider quality education first.
“If they do that, they will be helping the country,” he observed.
“It is good if we have free SHS. Anything that will encourage more people going to school in churning out better people, we support it but how is the thing going to be done? How will they do it so that the thing will receive the needed results?” He queried.
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