Free SHS: Akufo-Addo Calls For Broader Conversation On Flagship Education Policy

Free SHS: Akufo-Addo Calls For Broader Conversation On Flagship Education Policy

  • Nana Akufo-Addo has said he is open for a dialogue on the Free SHS policy
  • The president had always dismissed calls for a review of the policy that costs the government huge funds
  • Nana Akufo-Addo said the dialogue on the policy should focus on funding, access and other factors that can make the policy sustainable

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President Nana Akufo-Addo has called for a national dialogue on his flagship education policy, the Free Senior High School (SHS) programme.

The president’s comment during a short address to the leadership of the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) follows earlier rejections of proposals for a review of the policy.

“One of the things people have been calling for is the review of Free SHS, I think we should have a broader conversation about the incidence of education on our national development,” Joy News quoted the president.

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Akufo-Addo Free SHS
Free SHS is Nana Akufo-Addo's flagship education policy. Source: Getty Images.
Source: Getty Images

Akufo-Addo said the dialogue about Free SHS should focus on funding, general access and other critical factors needed to make the cash-intensive policy a success.

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He said the Education Ministry was formulating strategies for a more robust policy direction. He added that he remains confident that the policy was good despite the criticisms from a section of the Ghanaian public.

Under the policy, the government covers tuition, textbooks, feeding, and uniform costs. The array of costs the government has absorbed in full has presented a funding challenge for the policy and prompted experts to advise the government to review it.

Nii Armah Addy, an education expert with the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), a left of centre policy think tank thinks the comment attributed to the president is welcome news.

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"We certainly have to review the policy. More money is needed, effective monitoring and evaluation is needed, more infrastructure needed and proper teaching and learning are also critical," he told

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 to the government. However, the government dismissed all the suggestions.

Last year, the government said it spent GH¢2.4 billion on the policy. There are fears that the revenue-guzzling nature of the policy make it unsustainable and affects the quality of learning.

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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