Executive Director of the Africa Education Watch, Kofi Asare, has called for a revision in the free Senior High School (SHS) Policy.
According to him, it is high time beneficiaries of the policy are solely Junior High School (JHS) graduates from public schools whilst JHS graduates from private schools pay for their schooling at the SHS level.
He explained this revision will still see to government achieving its goal of making education accessible to all.
Kofi Asare revealed the government spends a maximum of GH₵2,000.00 annually on each boarding student under the free SHS program, an amount he believes is no big deal for parents of students from private Junior High Schools.
“We achieve the goal of all students receiving education at the Senior High School level with the revision of the free SHS policy. Students who graduated from private JHS should pay fees at the SHS level whilst those from gov’t JHS shouldn’t pay. Are we saying graduates from private JHSs cannot pay the GH₵2,000.00 per year spent on an individual under free SHS?” he asked Samuel Eshun on the Happy Morning Show.
Kofi Asare noted that with this revision of the policy, the government should save about GH₵400 million, an amount he believes can be used to create more jobs and create opportunities for economic development for SHS graduates who cannot pursue tertiary education. “This amount saved can be used to protect the outcome of the free SHS policy.”
The educationist explained the revision of the policy does not mean government does not have enough to run the free SHS program, “but we are saying the money we are spending can be utilized effectively and efficiently to achieve the benefits of the free SHS with the monies saved used to protect the outcome of the free SHS.”
The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, says the government’s flagship programme, the Free Senior High School initiative, is taking a huge toll on the national budget despite the country’s meagre resources.
The Asantehene did not only bemoan the financial impact of the policy, but also expressed concern about its possible impact on unemployment levels in the country.
“Considering the value to the nation, this must be one of the boldest policies of the nation but it also brings its challenges”, Otumfuo stressed.
The Akufo-Addo government has been under pressure to review its flagship Free SHS policy, as it takes a chunk of the country’s resources, and poses a threat to quality, although access has drastically improved.
But the government appears adamant.