SEND Ghana has warned government that its Free Senior High School Policy is likely to create overcrowding in boarding houses if proper steps are not taken to expand infrastructure development to meet an expected increase in enrollment by September when it commences.According to SEND Ghana, the senior high schools in the country have a limit to which they can admit, which is lower than the number of students that may qualify for senior high school.
Speaking at post budget analysis forum, the Country Director of SEND Ghana George Osei-Bimpeh stated that there must be adequate infrastructure to bring into fruition the policy.
Even though Mr. Osei-Bimpeh praised government for allocating substantial funds to education sector, he however bemoaned the low proportion earmarked for infrastructure development under education.
He pointed out for example that infrastructure development for education in the 2017 budget dropped from 18% to 5.1%.
“Does it represent an abandonment of ongoing projects in terms of the Day Schools. Why is it that it has come down from 18% in the 2016 budget to 5.1% in the 2017 budget? So in this year government is not going to invest as much as they invested in last year, and this is a worry thing because even the Free SHS has a potential of increasing enrollment, how are we going to cater for the increased number do we have plans to expand the existing facilities,? He asked.
He was of the view that government should have shown how it intends to continue and complete the school infrastructure programme started by the John Mahama administration.
“What are the plans for the completion of the school infrastructure programme that started in the previous government?, this is worrying, it poses a major challenge and is a source of concern to us, because at the end of the day, those who may not be able to go into the school even though it may be free will be the poor ones because they do not have the resources, connection, and social capital to connect to the right people,” he lamented.
Lauding government for allocating substantial portion of resources to the educational sector, Mr. Osei-Bimpeh maintained that SEND Ghana was however not happy with the proportion allocated to infrastructure development under education.
“We would have wished that in as much as government is committing a lot more resources and funding to the sector from its own purse, it also takes steps to expand infrastructure to meet the correspond enrollment,” he said.