Free SHS: Professor Aryeetey Gives 5 Reasons Quality Of Ghana's Public School System Is Declining

Free SHS: Professor Aryeetey Gives 5 Reasons Quality Of Ghana's Public School System Is Declining

  • Prof Ernest Aryeetey has said Free SHS will not live up to its objectives because there are deep-seated challenges with the policy
  • At a lecture to discuss Ghana's education system, the former Vice-Chancellor provided five policy flaws that are working against Free SHS and the public education system
  • He has called on the government to make crucial changes to the Free SHS before it further deteriorates quality of education in Ghana

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A former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Prof Ernest Aryeetey, has given five reasons for the decline in the quality of Ghana's public school system, especially the free Senior High School (Free SHS) policy.

Free SHS classroom NYT image
A classroom under the Free SHS policy. Source: Facebook/@nytimes
Source: Facebook

Releasing research findings by the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA), for which he is the General Secretary, Prof Aryeetey revealed that the poor performance of Ghana's public school system is generally attributed to the following:

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1. Inadequate investment in schools reflected by poor infrastructure, facilities and equipment;

2. Inadequate teacher preparation, often attributed to poor motivation and low morale;

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3. Inadequate time spent in school;

4. Schools focus on getting students to pass examinations mainly, so there is no broad education and critical thinking;

5. System of governance of public schools does not provide much incentive for schools to want to excel.

He made the revelations at a forum organised by the policy think thank, Centre for Social Justice (CSJ). Prof Aryeetey said the Free SHS policy, the government's flagship public education programme, needs crucial review to live up to its purpose.

Commenting on the problem with the governance of public schools, he said currently, boards of the schools have no say in the running of their schools.

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"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 said.

The forum, which was CSJ's 10th Leadership Dialogue Series, was on the topic, "Ghana's Education System: Current and Future Aspirations."

To deal with the problem of inadequate investments, which he said was one of the major setbacks, Prof Aryeetey recommended that the government adopts a Public Private Partnership (PPP).

According to him, the government cannot sustain the current arrangement to build the infrastructure for the thousands of public schools across the country single-handedly.

Participants of the virtual forum included a free SHS graduate, parents, and teachers. They all gave a critical assessment of the free SHS system and called on the government to heed the numerous suggestions to review the policy.

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

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He stated that 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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