Pro Vice Chancellor of the University of Cape Coast (UCC) Professor George Toku Oduro has chastised government for being unfair to parents whose wards are day students under the Free Senior High School policy.
According the UCC Pro Vice Chancellor, although the Free SHS policy has been successful to an extent, there are serious issues with the quality of education provided.
He made this observation while speaking during Media General’s Thought Leadership Public Forum.
The forum was under the theme: ‘One year of Free SHS Policy in Ghana; Counting the Cost and Drawing Lessons to Enhance Secondary Level Education in Ghana’.
“The equity and quality component of the Free SHS remains challenging,” Prof Toku Oduro stressed.
He added that government in implementing the policy has been unfair to the day students and their parents.
“For me, it is unfair that both students in boarding and those in day schools should benefit from Free SHS at different level of costs, when parents of both day and boarding school students pay taxes this does not ensure equity.
“Kenya, which has been the key reference point for justifying the Free SHS education, never extended the Free SHS to boarding schools; neither did they adopt the double-track system. Kenya’s was a free day secondary education programme. The cost of boarding is borne by parents,” he revealed.
Professor Toku Oduro further suggested the exemption of some schools in order to sustain the programme.
According to him, there is the need to exempt students whose parents can afford to pay for their ward’s tuition.
“Exempt class ‘A’ schools, schools like Achimota, Wesley Girls...They should not benefit from Free SHS. The Free SHS should only be extended to children in those schools who have been identified as coming from poor backgrounds who cannot genuinely pay fees,” Professor Oduro noted.
The Free SHS policy has been running for the past year, and while many have welcomed the policy as a good initiative, there are others who believe it lacks the proper implementation and resources to see to its holistic success.
Following these concerns raised, amidst issues that have come up in the past year, Media General, operators of TV3, 3news.com, 3FM, Onua FM, Connect FM, Akoma FM and Adesa Productions Limited, took the initiative to discuss concerns and the way forward in dealing with the issues.
Media General’s Thought Leadership Public Forum is aimed at leading the discourse on key national issues to enhance development, and it is organised in partnership with Star Ghana.