Quality Of Education Falling In Ghana But Free SHS Will Make It Worse – Prof Aryeetey

Quality Of Education Falling In Ghana But Free SHS Will Make It Worse – Prof Aryeetey

  • Former Vice-Chancellor, Prof Ernest Aryeetey, has given a poor verdict on the state of secondary education in the country
  • According to him, the free SHS has improved access to education remains a dangerous threat to quality of education
  • He made the comments when he spoke during a forum organised by the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ)

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Former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Prof Ernest Aryeetey, has said the Free Senior High School (Free SHS) system would worsen Ghana's already declining education quality.

The Secretary-General of the African Research Universities Alliance said the Free SHS policy has contributed to a significant improvement in access to secondary education; however, this has not been matched by corresponding resources.

The Free SHS policy was a campaign promise by Nana Akufo-Addo during the campaign for the 2016 elections to make senior high school education completely free.

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Prof Ernest Aryeetey
Former UG Vice-Chancellor, Prof Ernest Aryeetey. Source: Twitter/@Graphicgh.
Source: Twitter

Speaking during the 10th Dialogue Series organised by the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), Prof Aryeetey said the myriad of problems within the public education space calls for critical discussions.

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"It is important to accept that the decline in quality of education did not begin with Free SHS. But Free SHS will make it worse. It is going to make it worse because the schools will never have the infrastructure that they need.
"And because they don't have the infrastructure and teachers…the quality won't come. If you want good schools, you spend money on them," the respected economist said during the virtual conference on Thursday, April 28, 2022.

He also cited the current system of governance at public schools as a significant contributor to the lack of quality education at the secondary level. He said a heavily centralised governance system at public schools robs schools of tailored solutions to problems that may come up.

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"The system of governance at public schools does not provide enough incentive for the schools to want to excel…there is no public secondary school in Ghana where the school boards run the school. The school boards don't run the school.
"They don't take any important decisions. All the important decisions are taken by the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service.

He has asked the government to encourage Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) to improve infrastructure at public schools.

He also said while it is prudent for the government to decide to support low-income families to attend senior high school, this must not impede the quality of education.

The concerns by Prof Aryeetey about the Free SHS are consistent with those of other academics and educationists.

Last month, another former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Professor Ivan Addae-Mensah, said the current nature of the free Senior High School programme is a significant disservice.

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Prof Addae-Mensah told Joy News that Nana Akufo-Addo's flagship education programme was a drain on the economy and ineffective.

The programme currently consumes a considerable share of government revenue. The exact spending on the policy is in question, but many analysts believe over GH¢10 billion has been spent on keeping it running since 2017.

KNUST Ranked Best University For ‘Quality Of Education’ In Africa And 14th In The World

Meanwhile, the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) has been ranked the best for Quality of Education in Africa by the 2022 Times Higher Education Impact Ranking.

The ranking was published on Thursday, April 28, 2022, and includes more than 1,600 universities across 99 countries and territories.

The Times Higher Education Impact Rankings are the only global performance tables that assess universities against the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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George Nyavor (Head of Politics and Current Affairs Desk) George Nyavor writes for YEN.com.gh. He has been Head of the Politics and Current Affairs Desk since 2022. George has over 9 years of experience in managing media and communications (Myjoyonline and GhanaWeb). George is a member of the Catholic Association of Media Practitioners Ghana (CAMP-G). He obtained a BA in Communications Studies from the Ghana Institute of Journalism in 2010. Reach out to him via george.nyavor@yen.com.gh.

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