Former Vice President Kwesi Amissah-Arthur has warned the government could grapple with job placement for the over 90,000 students who gained admission through the Free Senior High School programme.
The ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) launched the Free SHS policy in its first year in office to absorb tuition and other related academic fees.
Mr. Amissah-Arthur believes it is a laudable initiative, but the government failed to forecast the employment conundrum it will bring unto these students when they graduate in two years time.
“What possibilities are there for them to get jobs and so on?” the former vice president asked President Akufo-Addo following his State of the Nation Address.
According to him, the new government must learn from the John Mahama administration, especially when it comes to fiscal prudence in the face of paying allowances for nurses and teachers.
Mr. Amissah-Arthur recalled the NPP while in opposition chastised the NDC government but are grappling with similar issues in the education sector. He said the NPP promised to restore the nurses and teacher trainees’ allowances but have limited it to just a few, asking whether it is better to have access and to pay for loans or to be given some free allowance and for the numbers to be limited.
He stated the NDC government was truthful to Ghanaians, letting them know the difficulties it was facing when it comes to expanding access to education, but the NPP capitalised on that to deceive Ghanaians.
He predicted that in about two years there will be a lot of frustration and anger among the 90, 000 SHS students who would have graduated then because “there are no possibilities for them.”
He said the government should have had plans in place to secure jobs for the Free SHS beneficiaries before implementing the policy.
“Now let’s plan properly before they graduate and so we know what to do,” Mr. Amissah-Arthur advised.
“We have a free SHS that has not changed the curriculum, the president talks about curriculum, you develop the curriculum before you put the students in there, so a lot of students are going to school doing the same thing that they did 10, five years ago. And we are expecting better results from them,” he said, adding “It’s not good enough for us.”
Mr. Amissah-Arthur called on the president to sit up else difficult times lie ahead for Ghanaians.