General News of Wednesday, 3 October 2018
Former President John Mahama has revealed how he will improve the ‘Free SHS’ as currently being implemented by the Akufo-Addo government if wins power in the 2020 elections.
According to him, though free education is a public good, “it must be implemented in a manner that is sustainable an does not compromise quality”.
In this vein, he added, “a new NDC Government will improve the Free SHS programme and make it better.”
In a lengthy post on Facebook, the former president went ahead to list four main things he will do to improve the policy if he gets the nod.
Among them were the abolition of the double track system; improvement of learning outcomes and supervision; implementation of a crash programme to increase access; and stakeholder consultations for further improvement.
“Education is key to our country’s development. Free education is a public good, as was demonstrated by my administration. FREE EDUCATION MUST BE implemented in a manner that is sustainable and does not compromise quality. A new NDC Government will improve the Free SHS programme and make it better. R
We will abolish the current shift (double track) system, reintroduce the more efficient three-terms per academic year programme, and bring back the emphasis on skills training, technical and vocational education to provide students with more options, as they go forward with their choices in diverse career and aptitude paths.?
NDC will improve learning outcomes, teaching, teacher development and supervision across all schools. We will also implement a crash programme to complete all the remaining abandoned Community Day Schools and construct additional ones in areas of high demand to be able to provide increased access and avoid the current congestion being experienced due to the current poor implementation of the programme.
In addition, a National Stakeholders Conference will be organised to bring together headmasters, parents, teachers, educationists, labour, politicians, traditional leaders, religious groups, CSOs, students and others to further review and chart a sustainable course for the implementation of free education for our children and country.”
Though he had hinted of review the Akufo-Addo government’s flagship policy, Mahama who maintains the policy is ill-timed had not brought any alternatives.
The main pillar of Akufo-Addo’s 2016 campaign, the Free SHS policy was launched less than nine months into the Akufo-Addo government in September 2017 to much fanfare.
In the almost one year since its implementation, the programme has been saddled with many difficulties. Key among them has been the lack of infrastructure leading to the birth of the ‘double-track’ system which will see SHS students go to school in two streams.
It is based on this that Mahama has described the policy as ‘ill-timed’ and intends to review it.