General News of Tue, 7 Nov 201783
Mahama’s tuition-free SHS students now paying fees - Education Minister
Some senior high school students who were earmarked for a three-year scholarship under a policy introduced by the previous government are now paying fees.
Education Minister, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh told the media Tuesday the John Mahama administration was not committed to the programme.
He said funds were not released in the second year of the Progressively Free SHS policy for the 2016/2017 academic year.
The second year of the programme was expected to benefit an additional 100,000 students.
But Dr Opoku Prempeh said no student was awarded the scholarship. “We met the headmasters and we met the scholarship secretariat and the question was have you sent anybody to receive a scholarship [but] the answer was no,” he said.
He said government decided to discontinue the programme after it discovered no funds were allocated for it.
“We are not paying,” the Education Minister said.
The past National Democratic Congress (NDC) government’s tuition-free SHS education policy was implemented in 2015.
The sum of ¢12,178,000 was released to cover at least 300,000 students for the 2015/2016 academic year.
But no money was made available for the second year of the programme. Dr Opoku Prempeh said their commitment is to the newly rolled out free SHS policy, which benefits first-year students.
Asked about the challenges bedevilling the programme, the Minister said the government is dealing with them.
“There are emergency interventions to acquire furniture and bunk beds,” he said of schools with logistical challenges.
He said the government has committed resources to attend to the problems, adding the provision of furniture alone will cost about ¢80million.