General News of Thu, 16 Nov 201728

Government struggling to fund Free SHS – Ablakwa

Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, a former Deputy Minister of Education, has said the Akufo-Addo-led government is struggling to finance the free Senior High School programme, hence the establishment of the Voluntary Education Fund.

The government of Ghana on Wednesday revealed that it will set up a trust to receive donations from the public to support education in Ghana.

“In 2018, the Ministry will work with GETFund to set up this education fund to enable Ghanaians make voluntary contributions to support education,” Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta told parliament when he delivered the 2018 Budget and Economic Policy Statement to parliament on the theme: “Putting Ghana Back to Work”.

According to Mr Ofori-Atta, “government has received proposals from the public, several of which encourage the establishment of a fund to receive voluntary contributions to support education”.

For him, “the GETfund law allows for the setting up of other education-related funds”, so, government will pursue the initiative to improve education in the country. This comes on the heels of the Free Senior High School (SHS) initiative which started in September 2017.

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Commenting on this initiative on his Facebook page, Mr Ablakwa, who is also Member of Parliament for North Tongu, said: “Is this not an admission that Government is struggling to fund and sustain Free SHS? Why is our suggestion for a targeted intervention based on a needs assessment across all three cohorts being ignored in favour of this backdoor approach?

“Will the expected volunteering parents prefer to pay into a remote fund where they are unsure if their wards will ever benefit instead of paying to schools directly? While at this, matters are compounded by the failure of the 2018 budget to put forward a radical programme to address the major challenges of the current implementation of Free SHS.

“Let's see how this pans out, however, it's obvious we need some degree of sincerity and candour in how we move forward. It's our education, our country, and our children's future. We must rise above the partisanship when education is at stake.”



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