Free SHS Review Starts: GES Director Discloses Ongoing Process To Decide How Much Parents Should Pay

Free SHS Review Starts: GES Director Discloses Ongoing Process To Decide How Much Parents Should Pay

  • The GES has made a surprise disclosure that the Free SHS is currently being reviewed to enable the parents take up some of the cost of education
  • The Director General of the GES Professor Kwasi Opoku Amankwa said the government will take up all the costs that are critical to providing quality education
  • Ghana has been compelled to turn to the IMF following dwindling state coffers and mounting debt, prompting a cut back on budget-heavy policies like the Free SHS

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The Ghana Education Service (GES) has disclosed that a process to review the Free Senior High School (SHS) has started to enable parents to take up some of the cost of educating their children.

The director-general of the GES disclosed in what many say is a surprise turnaround that the government was ticking aspects of the cost of educating SHS students that would not compromise the quality of education to take those up.

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Professor Kwasi Opoku Amankwa told Joy News that education experts are currently analysing the cost components, and in due course, the public will be informed about the way forward.

President Nana Akufo-Addo free SHS
President Nana Akufo-Addo and Free SHS students of Kumasi Wesley Girls SHS. Source: Facebook/@KweygeyheyJNUBS, @freeshseducationghana
Source: Facebook
“We can do the analysis and then come up and say that, ‘ok, to give [a student] quality education, it will cost this much’. Within that cost, these are the items in the cost’,” he illustrated.

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He said on Thursday, July 21, 2022, that after this analysis, the government would disclose aspects it would absorb without burden but essentially because they were critical to quality education.

Parents would then be compelled to pay for the remaining cost components.

Currently, the government covers the cost of everything -- from tuition, textbooks, feeding, and uniform.

Since the start of the Free SHS in 2017, educationists and think tanks have advised the government to review aspects of the policy to cut back on its heavy cost on the government. However, the government dismissed all the suggestions.

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A few months before Ghana went to the IMF, the finance minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, vowed that the government had no intention of reviewing the education policy.

“Let me say this, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has absolutely no intention to roll back on a major policy like Free SHS. We see education as the best enabler for sustainable economic growth and transformation and will do more to improve on it for it to serve more and better our children,” he had said in March.

Although the IMF has touted the Free SHS as an innovative policy, many had predicted that it would be impossible for the budget-heavy initiative not to be reviewed under a Fund programme.

IMANI's Bright Simons fears Free SHS policy will soon destroy all public secondary schools reported in a previous story that a fellow of think tank IMANI Centre for Policy and Education, Bright Simons, has said the future looks bleak for the public secondary schools under the Free SHS policy.

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He tweeted on Thursday, July 14, 2022, that because the policy is steeped in politics, no government after Nana Akufo-Addo leaves office would be able to touch it.

The social innovator and scientist said the Free Senior High School policy will soon suffer the same fate as the government-run primary schools that are usually seriously deprived, known popularly as "syto."

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