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General News Wed, 27 Jul 2022

Mid-year budget: Improving FSHS will be more expensive to parents – Terkper

A former Minister for Finance, Seth Terkper, says government’s aim to improve the Free Senior High School (FSHS) policy will rather compound the difficulties parents are already grappling with under the program.

Speaking to Francis Abban on the Morning Starr Tuesday, Mr. Terkper reiterated his stands that the free SHS policy was unsustainable.

“And I don’t think that Ghana as a developing country can be able to sustain the free SHS in its unfettered form that is taking on everything. It will be poor quality. There wouldn’t be any improvement in the poor quality.

“It will be more expensive to parent, that is the only improvement I can think about. It is the reduction in cost, the cost of food is already low, textbooks are not available. So if that is quality then that is low. If that is the improvement then it is going to increase cost,” Mr. Terkper disclosed.

He continued: “I can only see the improvement being passing the cost to parents. Because we should ask ourselves and not find out from anybody can we really continue to finance Free SHS.

According to Mr. Terkper “we have been depending on loans, bonds and the sovereign bonds substantial amount up to 2.2 billion on average annually has been used to support free shs.

“Now, we don’t have market access and we cannot borrow domestically efficiently, so is it sustainable in its current unfettered form, no. so maybe despite the denial there is some revision coming that will make parents pay more for the next academic year.”

Background

The Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta in delivering the Mid-year budget review in Parliament on Monday July 25, 2022 disclosed that free SHS policy will not be reviewed rather improve.

He stated that the government has placed human capital development at the core of our national transformation efforts since 2017.

“We have invested GH¢ 5.3 billion to enable 1,261,495 Ghanaian children access to secondary education under the Free SHS programme at the end 2021 to improve access to education. Out of the 571,892 registered JHS candidates, 555,353, representing 97.1 percent, were placed into SHS this year.

“This is significant We are aware of reported challenges in accessing and transporting food for students in SHS and we are fixing it. In response, we have engaged stakeholders and devised a programme that ensures that schools will not be disrupted and our students are well-fed. Government has also recently completed 17 additional projects including classroom blocks, dormitories, staff bungalows and libraries as part of infrastructural expansion in Senior High Schools. To deal with the record increases in student numbers.

“Mr. Speaker, we shall not compromise on President Akufo-Addo’s commitment to giving all our children the opportunity to be educated from kindergarten to university, without the ability to pay being a hindrance. Free Secondary and TVET education are not under review. We will continue to fund them and we will continue to improve them.”
Source: starrfm.com.gh
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