General News of Tue, 19 Sep 201722
We know Free SHS won’t be cheap; we're ready to fund it – Bawumia
The Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has maintained that the government is ready to spend a billion of cedis to sustain its flagship programme – Free SHS Policy.
About 486 million cedis has been earmarked to fund the initial stage of the policy which began this year. An estimated 420,000 students entering Senior High School are expected to benefit from the policy that covers their tuition, feeding, examination and other fees.
Critics who think the country was not ready for such a policy are wondering how government would fund albeit a laudable programme in the coming years. But launching the regional Free SHS Policy in the Northern region on Tuesday, the Vice President insisted that it is worth spending that much on the policy. “We didn’t think that this is something that is going to be cheap. Next year we will spend about a billion cedis of Free SHS but it is money that is worth spending, and we will keep spending and spend it again because it is important,” Dr. Bawumia said.
He remarked that the policy has significantly increased enrollment from 75% recorded last year to 94%. About 22,000 qualified students are expected to be placed in the various second cycle schools to add up to the about 400,000 already enrolled in the country to benefit from the policy. “This shows that there were probably a lot of people who wouldn’t have gone [to school] because of school fees who have now been able to go,” Dr. Bawumia recounted.
He noted that the policy was very key to the New Patriotic Party government that is why the president insisted that it is implemented even though the party “inherited a broken economy”.