General News of Tue, 24 Jul 201855
Free SHS: Exclude people who can pay fees – Ofori-Atta
The Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta has suggested that the Free SHS policy must target the vulnerable ones who lack the financial capacity and allow those with the means to pay for their children continue to pay fees.
According to Mr. Ofori Atta, there must be changes in the way the policy is being administered in the future.
He, however, added that it was important to get everybody on the policy before considering other ways to improve it.
“The issue of free education, I don’t think it’s something that any of us can compromise on…It may be that there have to be changes in the way which we are administering it,” Mr Ofori-Atta said Monday in an interview on Citi FM.
The soft-spoken Finance Minister added “I can’t take my child to Achimota or Ordogonnor and then leave him or her and drive away and Ken Ofori-Atta not pay anything while I can pay for 10 people. You need to be able to get the data to then be discriminatory in how and who pays and who doesn’t pay.
“You would rather make a mistake if it is a mistake to get everybody in the system for the nation to then begin to have a conversation and say okay, this is good for us because we want our human capital to a certain level but maybe let’s begin to adjust it this way. But, I think the issue of opening up and people coming to reality about maybe we could do things a certain way is not a bad thing for a nation’s growth.”
The government is facing huge challenges in financing its flagship education programme, the Free SHS.
The Finance Minister’s comments come after the government revealed that it was going implement a dual tracking system at the SHS level.
Double Track System will be similar to the semester mode of learning applicable in the universities at the SHS level. With this system, each track will be in school for specific days for each semester and go on vacation and come back for the second semester.
While the first track is in school, the second track will be on vacation and vice versa. The objectives of the Double-track School Calendar are to create room to accommodate increase in enrolment, reduce class sizes, increase contact hours and to increase the number of holidays.