General News of Saturday, 29 July 2017
The Progressive Peoples’ Party (PPP) has criticized the government’s flagship educational policy, Free SHS, arguing that it is not comprehensive.
According to the party, the policy, which is aimed at making Senior High School education in public schools free will not address the key issues on education.
Speaking on Citi FM’s news analysis program, The Big Issue, the Director of Operations of the party, Nana Ofori Owusu suggested a better policy would have been one that addressed the backlog of Junior High School graduates who do not qualify to enter Senior High School.
“This Free SHS is not comprehensive enough. The problem is from the JHS level. We are filtering our children. You give them a BECE exam and half of the people fail; about 200,000 children per annum are not able to move to the Senior High School level. What do we do as a nation in our public education system for this people. We have not addressed this issue. In five years, 1 million children [who didn’t go to SHS]. That issue has not been touched so it is an intentional policy to deprive children of the opportunity to move on,” he said.
The Minister of Education, Mathew Opoku Prempeh at a press conference on Friday said the Free SHS program will cover only students in SHS and it will ensure that government absorbs the full cost of education.
The Minister announced that the money allocated by the government for the program will cater for the 3-year stay of the Senior High School students and students who are repeated in school will not have their extra year being paid for by the government.
But according to the PPP, the more pressing issue of students who do not qualify for the Senior High School must be addressed.
Meanwhile the Minority spokesperson on Education, Peter Nortsu-Kotoe has warned that the Free SHS policy will not achieve the much-expected results because he believes the government has not adequately prepared for it.
He said in a Citi News interview that government’s GHS400 million budget for the policy for the 2017/2018 academic year will not be enough.