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Free SHS is feasible – Former GES director

Feb. 13, 2017, 1:19 p.m.

A former Director-General of the Ghana Education Service, Charles Aheto-Tsegah says the government’s decision to roll out the free Senior High School education policy this year is feasible but there must be some changes in the national budgetary expenditure.

According to him, President Akufo-Addo’s announcement of the implementation of the policy this September is a step in the right direction as it is guided by the constitution.

The president over the weekend announced that government will fully implement the free Senior High School (SHS) policy from 2017/2018 academic year this September.

According to him, this was to take away the financial burden on the parents of students in the various second cycle institutions.

Speaking at the 60th anniversary of Okuapeman SHS in the Eastern Region, he said, “By free SHS, we mean that, in addition to tuition which is already free, there will be no admission fees, no library fees, no science centre fees, no computer lab fees, no examination fees, no utility fees; there will be free textbooks, free boarding and free meals, and day students will get a meal at school for free. Free SHS will also cover agricultural, vocational and technical institutions at the high school level. “

Policy Think Tank, IMANI Ghana has already questioned how the government will fund the policy but speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show, Mr Aheto-Tsegah who is the Executive Director of the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) of the GES said, “I think that it is too quick to question whether or not we cannot do it. I believe we can take our time and do some sacrifices here and there in our national spending arrangements and find the resources to plug into education.”

I think that everything is doable economically when you apply a proper scale of preference. It is possible in education as long as we get a very regular and timely allocation of our education resources.”

‘NPP free SHS campaign message’

The New Patriotic Party under the flagbearer ship of Nana Akufo-Addo in 2012 disclosed his plans to introduced a ‘free SHS’ policy if voted to office. Although the campaign message, became very popular among electorates it could not propel the candidate to win the elections.

During the election 2016 campaign, Akufo-Addo, who was re-elected the party’s flagbearer of the party reiterated his resolve to make Secondary education in the country free.

‘NDC introduces free SHS’

After winning the 2012 elections, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government led by John promised to implement what his government termed as progressively free SHS policy, a replica of the NPP’s much hyped free SHS policy.

Government had explained that to make the policy successful, it is building 200 community day SHSs nationwide.

It announced that it had began implementing the policy for day students and was subsequently extended to boarders, but the NPP described it as a failure.