Free SHS Must Be Reviewed, It is Costing Ghana Too Much – Professor Adei Revisits Old Advice

Free SHS Must Be Reviewed, It is Costing Ghana Too Much – Professor Adei Revisits Old Advice

  • Professor Stephen Adei has revisited an old proposal for President Akufo-Addo to review the Free SHS policy.
  • Prof Adei's revisit of the proposal comes at a time Ghana's economy has been hit by challenges, key among them a lack of adequate revenue.
  • He wants the education policy to tweaked to allow for some top-tier schools to be made autonomous and fee-paying.

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Professor Stephen Adei has revisited a call for the Free SHS policy to be reviewed because it was costing the country too much to implement.

The renewed call by the Chairman of the National Development Planning Commission said on Wednesday, March 16, 2022, comes at time when Ghana’s current economic challenges tops public discourse.

Prof Adei noted that although the free SHS is a good policy, it is time to block its budget-draining feature.

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Prof Adei free SHS
Professor Stephen Adei (L) is calling for a review of the Free SHS policy. Source: Facebook/@dzifa.gunu
Source: Facebook
“Despite all the advantages of the Free SHS, it has even worsened [Ghana’s economic situation] because now about…GH¢7 billion immediately goes into it.

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“I think that Free SHS is wonderful…but we have to look at it again. I think that certain schools should be made autonomous and fee-paying…” Prof Adei said during an interview on Joy News.

He singled out the Achimota Senior High School and Wesley Girls High School of some of the top-tier schools in Ghana that should be made autonomous and allowed to charge fees.

This is not the first time the issue of reviewing the Free SHS has been broached.

President Nana Akufo-Addo’s own Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, once proposed a review of the policy to allow parents who can pay their wards fees to do so.

Mr Ofori-Atta said in 2018 that persons with the means should be given the opportunity to pay fees for their wards while the government collects data to determine which segments of society benefit from the policy.

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"The issue of free education, I don't think its something that any of us can compromise on... It may be that there have to be changes in the way which we are administering it," Mr. Ofori-Atta said at the time.

Since then there have been numerous similar calls, but the President remains adamant.

The Free SHS, which makes the three-year senior high school education completely free was a major campaign promise of the Nana Akufo-Addo in the lead up to the 2016 election.

Many analysts believe the promise to make tuition, books, meals and uniform completely free for all SHS students won him the presidency in 2016.

Last year, Ken Ofori-Atta revealed that a whopping GH¢7.62 billion has been set aside for the education policy over the last five years.

Of this amount, GH¢4.18 billion was sourced from the government of Ghana, while the remaining GH¢3.44 billion came from Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA).

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