Former Deputy Minister of Education, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, has said the previous National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration commenced the implantation of the Free Senior High School programme.
Therefore, assertions by communicators and officials of the Akufo-Addo-led administration that it is the current government that is introducing the programme is wrong.
Government has announced that the Free SHS programme will start in September with the first year students in all the high schools in the country.
Addressing the press on Monday, September 4 Deputy Minister of Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, called on parents not to pay any fees demanded by heads of senior high schools since the government is taking care of all such expenses.
“Students are not supposed to pay any fees,” he said, adding, “As a matter of fact, PTA-levied fees like utilities, development levy, and even teacher motivation is going to be paid by the government, as a result, we’ve made it abundantly clear to headmasters that money should not be the reason why a student should not go to school. Therefore no parent should receive a bill.”
Dr Adutwum added: “Even if PTA meets and decides in consultation with GES that there is something they want to do and they want parents to contribute, it will not be mandatory. If Mr Kojo Mensah doesn’t have money to make that contribution for his ward, the student will not be prevented from going to school.”
But speaking on Asempa FM’s Ekosii Sen programme on Monday, September 4, Mr Ablakwa said: “I think the NDC as a party we need to improve on our communication strategy. Free SHS is not starting in Ghana on the 11th of September this year, it is not President Akufo-Addo who is starting free SHS and many people don’t know this.
“Free SHS was started in the year 2014, three years ago. The NDC under [former] President Mahama started free SHS.
“We had a loan facility from the World Bank under the Secondary Education Improvement Programme. Under this there were four components; the first was to build the 23 senior high schools, the second component is the training we provided for Maths, Science and ICT teachers, and there was a third component called Quality Improvement Facility upgrade, and the fourth categorically was the scholarships for needy senor high school students.
“The agreement we signed with the World Bank for the next five years at that time – 2014 to 2019 – was on granting scholarships, and implementing free SHS for 10,400 students.”