General News of Mon, 11 Sep 20175
Piecemeal approach to Free SHS bad – Minority
The Minority in Parliament has indicated that it is worrying for the Akufo-Addo-led government to limit the Free Senior High School programme to only first-year students.
The government’s flagship programme, the Free Senior High School, began today, Monday, 11 September.
Commenting on the implementation of the programme at a press conference in Accra on Monday, September 11 the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, said:
“As both the NDC and the NPP try to implement Article 25 (1) (b) of the Constitution which states that: secondary education in all its different forms, including technical and vocational education, shall be made generally available and accessible to all by every appropriate means, and in particular, by progressive introduction of free education, it is the hope of the NDC Minority that quality shall not be sacrificed at the altar of political expediency.
“We renew our call for the NPP government to spare a thought for those in the second and third years as they promised. It is our considered view that the GHS 400 million being expended on only some first-year students in SHSs should rather be targeted at vulnerable students at all the three levels from form 1 to form 3 instead of this current lazy propaganda approach. There are ways of targeting these vulnerable students, and the NPP should consider this.
“As has been observed and generally agreed by many, the implementation of the NPPs progressively Free SHS so far has been self-defeating. We demand that government puts its house in order immediately as this country cannot afford to toy with the education of its youth. This is not the hyped brand of competence Ghanaians were promised.”
He added: “It is clear that the government is struggling to find resources to fund its so-called Free SHS programme. This is the reason for the delay in releases of the funds and the reason why instead of the entire allocation being released for the term, government has told the CHASS to expect only 20-50% of the term’s allocation.
“This piecemeal approach will compromise quality and create difficulties for school heads in terms of planning. It is important, nay necessary, for the government to cut down on its lavish expenditure on giant Free SHS billboards all over Ghana and transfer the full allocation of funds to the schools to ensure a smooth take off of the programme. Anything short of this will be compromising quality and shortchanging the parents, the students and the people of Ghana.”