General News of Thursday, 27 July 2017
The Minister of Education, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, has outlined the modalities for the implementation of government’s free senior high school (SHS) policy which starts in September 2017.
According to him, government will only fully fund the education of students over the three-year duration.
This means that students who are repeated for non-performance will subsequently have to pay their own fees when they stay in school for more than three years.
Dr Opoku Prempeh who made this known at a press conference in Accra Thursday explained that, “We said you can carry your free SHS for three years because that is the duration of the lifetime of your SHS study. So if you go to first year, that is first year we will pay. You repeat first year, year two we will pay. When you get to second year, year three we will pay. Year four we won’t.”
Presenting the 2017 Budget Statement and Economic Policy in March, the Finance Minister, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta said it will cost government GH¢400 million to implement the free SHS programme for the 2017/2018 academic year.
Some civil society organisations have however called on the government not to rush with the implementation of the programme due to the current economic challenges facing the country.
But Dr Opoku Prempeh noted that the policy is not new and that Ghana has since independence implemented free secondary school education in one way or the other.
“We are not oblivious to the fact that it may mean many people going to school. So what! Education is better than ignorance in all its forms. Ghana has not been the best of economies since independence but we have had one way or the other free secondary school since independence.”
“For those who don’t believe or who say we should wait, anybody till date who has any information that the president hasn’t gotten about the economy, anyone who has contrary view that the money that has been appropriated by the parliament of Ghana can as well submit it to the president or us and we will take due cognisance of it. But free SHS is happening September 2017,” he said.