Akufo-Addo has no plan of stopping free SHS – Ofori-Atta
Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta has announced that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has no plan of cancelling or reviewing the free Senior High School programme.
“Let me say this, President Akufo-Addo has absolutely no intention to rollback on any of the major policies like the free SHS. We see education as the best enabler for sustainable growth to ensure transformation. We will do more to improve on it for it to serve better our children,” he said on Thursday March 24.
His comments come at a time Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah announced that all the 16 flagship programmes of the government are up to be looked at.
Mr Oppong Nkrumah said the president wants the programmes to be protected and fully implemented to impact the lives of all Ghanaians.
“All the 16 flagship programmes are up to be looked at. The President has directed that the flagship programmes should be protected and fully implemented to ensure that the impact is achieved.
“However, he wants it done within the constraints of item number 2 which is the fiscal framework we are working with. If based on the caps that we are working with we will have to rescope a particular flagship program, we will do it and see how much we can achieve,” he told Accra-based Citi FM on Monday March 21.
Some persons have called for the review of the free SHS programme.
For instance, a former Rector at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) Professor Stephen Adei said as a part of a review of the free secondary school policy, the government must exempt Category A or best-performed SHSs from the Free Senior High School programme.
“We have to look at it again. I think that there are certain schools which we should make autonomous and fee-paying and people will go there, but then make sure there are good community schools for everybody else,” he told Joy News.
“Only a small proportion of the poor come to Achimota, let the rich go there and pay. Use the Achimota funds to have very good schools in every district so that they can be there and don’t have to travel.”
Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta in 2018 also suggested a review of the poroigramme to make parents who are in the position to afford paying the fees to do so.
“True, it may be that there have to be changes in the way we are administering it. I can’t take my child to Achimota or Odorgono and leave him or her there and drive away and not pay for anything whiles I can pay for ten people,” he said told journalists.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in 2017 launched the Free Senior High School Policy in fulfilment of his campaign promise in 2017.
“Today, we throw open the doors of opportunity and hope to our young people… We have a sacred duty to our children and the generations beyond in ensuring that, irrespective of their circumstances, their right to education is preserved,” the President said to an ecstatic crowd at the West Africa Senior High School premises at Adenta.
He added ““I want every Ghanaian child to attend secondary school not just for what they learn in books, but for the life experiences that they will gain. I want each of them to look in the mirror in the morning, every morning, and know that they can achieve anything they dream of when they complete their studies.
“I want them to be confident that what they study is relevant to the demands of today, and of tomorrow. I want every Ghanaian child to be comfortable in the knowledge that, when they work hard, they will be as capable as anyone else in the world. And I want parents to look upon their children with pride, as they watch them mature into self-confident adults,” the President said.