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'Free SHS cannot fail because the economy is strong to fund it'-Dr Manteaw

Written by  Aug 17, 2018
Chairman of the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC), Dr. Steve Manteaw, has suggested it would be an indictment on Ghana should the implementation of the free senior school policy fail. Speaking at the Daily Graphic’s Dialogue on Education in Ghana at Takoradi in the Western region today [Friday], he said, Ghana is economically strong to implement the policy. Using Uganda as an example, Dr Manteaw argued that, the population of our neighbour was 29.9 million when they started free secondary education hence; Ghana is better placed economically to implement the policy. He said, In the year Ghana introduced free SHS, the population of Ghana was 27.41 million which means the Ghanaian population was lower than the Ugandan population. In terms of the economics, we are better placed to implement the free SHS than Uganda.’’ ‘’A further comparison using a common baseline 2015, Uganda’s GDP in 2015b was 27.5 billion. In the same year, Ghana’s GDP was 37.5 billion…So how have they funded their free secondary education? Dr Manteaw believes Ghana have taxes, oil, gold, diamond, manganese, and bauxite; and so if we cannot implement the free senior high school policy, it would be a serious indictment on us. The dialogue seeks to promote stakeholder engagement and understanding of Free SHS and the Double Track System policies and to foster policy coherence and sustainability in Ghana’s educational sector. It is also aimed at inviting relevant recommendations to mitigate potential challenges that may be associated with the policy. The dialogue was on the theme, ‘’Unpacking the Double Track System; Implications for Sustainable Financing and Prospects for Educational Quality in Ghana.’’ The free SHS policy was first rolled in September 2017. This was a major campaign promise by President Nana Akufo-Addo during the 2017 campaign. “By free SHS we mean that in addition to tuition which is already free, there will be no admission fee, no library fee, no science centre fee, no computer lab fee, no examination fee, and no utility fee; there will be free text books, free boarding and free meals, and day students will get a meal at school for free.” President Akufo-Addo said in 2017 at the 60th Anniversary celebration and the Speech and Prize Giving Day of Okuapeman School in Akropong in the Eastern Region on the theme: “One Vision, Many Lives”. The President said: “Free SHS will also cover agricultural, vocational and technical institutions at the high school level. I also want to state clearly again that we have a well-thought out plan that involves the building of new public senior high schools and cluster public senior high schools.”
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