Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University of Cape Coast, Prof. George K. T. Oduro, has attributed the challenges facing government’s Flagship Free SHS program to the rush implementation of the policy.
Speaking at the 5th quadrennial (52nd) National Delegates’ Conference of the Ghana National Association of Teachers held at the University of Cape Coast on January 5th 2018, Prof. Oduro maintained that the Free SHS policy, though laudable and credible, has created room for equity related problems in schools - a situation which could have been avoided if government had been more careful in its planning and strategizing before implementing the program.
He believes there needed to be more deliberation between the Ministry of Education and stakeholders and further engagement on how to efficiently implement the program so as to ensure that its kick-off will be on point.
Prof. Oduro further blamed the ineffectiveness of the policy on political parties whose reactions, he says, have stifled constructive implementation ideas.
“Hostile reactions have been associated with the NPP Government’s nation-wide Free SHS policy.
"Credible as the policy is, the rush with which the Ministry of Education commenced the implementation of the programme and the degree of threats and tagging that characterized contrasting opinions, tended to stifle constructive implementation ideas.
"I remember my own experience when in a speech I suggested that the idea is good but let us not rush in implementing it, let’s take the first year to sensitise people, engage stakeholders so that everyone will know what really is involved in the Free SHS to avoid the situation where parents will say that it is free so we don’t have any commitment to it and I received my part of the bashing”….
"The result is that we are now grappling with equity-related challenges, most of which could have been avoided or reduced if the Free SHS implementation planning had moved beyond politics to a national discourse level and constructive opinions embraced prior to its implementation," Prof. Oduro noted.
He emphasized the importance of investing in education and ensuring that politics and personal interests don’t get in the way of providing excellent education for the youth of the country.
“Investment in education is very crucial in our strategies for transforming the Ghanaian society….We need as a country prioritise strategies for bridging the gap between rural less endowed school and urban endowed schools if we really want to maximize the benefits of equitable investment. We must also commit ourselves to depoliticizing discourses on investment initiatives if we really desire transforming our Ghanaian society”, he said.