Founder and leader of the All People’s Party (APC), Hassan Ayariga has likened the introduction of the Free Senior High School (SHS) policy by the ruling government to a scholarship program.
According to him, though the Akufo-Addo government remains committed to helping the poor and making secondary education accessible to all, it will be a disaster if it focuses on students grade.
“The Free SHS is very good but I see it as a scholarship instead of a free education for all. What happens to a student with aggregate 37 or 40 when you tell her to better her grades before entering the senior high school?”.
“Then we will end up getting more dropouts than graduates. I think the government should just forget about the grades and allow every student who deserves it to get the chance” he pleaded.
Education Minister has revealed that only students who pass their examination will have the opportunity to enjoy the government’s Free SHS policy in September.
According to Mathew Opoku Prempeh, students who fail at the basic education level will not benefit from the policy as the government readies to roll it out.
Though he failed to mention what will constitute a pass mark for students, he said the policy will be merit-based and not wholesale for students.
“Since people want to benefit, they will employ their children to study very hard to pass the exams, because there is still a pass there. It is not how the free will be to enjoy, but you have to pass an exam and indeed to study, so let’s get that one done first”.
The Free SHS policy was launched in Accra on Tuesday, 12 September by the President with a call on Ghanaians to support the policy and to contribute ideas to make it sustainable.
Delivering an address at the launch of the Free SHS programme, the President said, among other things, that his government is open to accept inputs from all quarters to make the programme long lasting and successful.
But reacting to the development, Mr Ayariga indicated that if government proceed with the “pass BECE and qualify for free SHS” cliché, the programme will remain selective and will benefit students who attended relatively good private JHS than those in the public JHS in the rural areas, especially girls who could not meet the cut-off point”.
The APC leader further noted that over the years the SHS system has favoured students living in affluent areas of the country, something the free SHS policy intends to resolve but he feared the pass before you benefit policy could derail government’s efforts at making senior high school education accessible to all.
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