The Head of the Economic Division for the Institute of Statistical Social and Economic Research at the University of Ghana has suggested that government should target Grade C schools for the free SHS programmes.
Speaking on a “Scorecard” panel, a Joy FM program designed to assess the performance of the government under President Nana Akufo-Addo, Professor Peter Quartey said, “the Grade C schools do not have the numbers which will help reduce the heavy Free SHS load on the government to help sustain the initiative.”
He also explained students in the grade C schools are from poorer homes and have parents who cannot shoulder all their needs.
“The government can target well who benefits from the Free SHS programme or have scholarship programmes for children from poor backgrounds,” Quartey said.
He continued: “Allow parents with students in the Grade A schools to pay to support their children, because they are willing to pay.”
He suggested government in its Free SHS quest should also permit parents to give the government a hand in funding the programme as it cannot handle the load alone.
Professor Quartey said he did not expect the government to take on everything but to “allow parents to help in the funding of the programme by allowing the Parents Teachers Association (PTA) to contribute some of the basic needs of the school through the payment of the PTA dues.”
However, the Deputy Minister of Education said every student, regardless of socioeconomic status or competency levels, deserve to go to grade A schools.
“We are not going to create second-class citizens anymore where the brightest are catered for leaving the weak ones behind,” he said.
Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum explained that parents who want to help can donate to the schools.
Professor Quartey expressed concern on the participation of foreign students in the program.
“Is it a Ghana Free SHS or an Ecowas Free SHS?” the Professor questioned, explaining that the number of students in the Free SHS initiative is increasing because of the presence of foreign students in the system.
He stated there is no system in place to check the nationalities of students, which has created a loose system for anyone to join.