President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has called on Ghanaians to have a broader and open conversation on access to education in the country, especially the flagship Free Senior High School (FSHS) policy.
According to him, this conversation must look at the funding of Free SHS as well as access to other ingredients that must work for the public good.
“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,” President Nana Akufo-Addo said while addressing the leadership of the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS).
He noted that although there are some individuals who are who do not totally agree with the Free SHS policy regarding the aspect of feeding students in the boarding house, as President, he shares a different view on the programme.
President Akufo-Addo stressed that the Ministry of Education is seriously looking at the issues raised by some individuals and civil society organisations to inform a policy direction going forward.
The President of the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS), Dennis Appiah Larbi in his remarks stated that the free SHS policy is good as, “it creates a huge appeal and enthusiasm amongst people who want to go to tertiary institutions.
“We as a student front are proposing that if it is possible, develop a sustainable means of financing the no guarantor system such that it should be able to help a least 150,000 people in a year."
Dennis Appiah Larbi also urged the President and Ministry of Education to urgently address challenges with the school feeding programme, non-payment of nurses’ allowance and the loan guarantor system introduced by the government.
There have been several calls for the government to review the flagship Free SHS policy including the policy producing quantity and not quality graduates.
For instance, Dr John Kwabena Kwakye, the Director of Research at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), whilst speaking to journalists in Accra reiterated calls for the government to consider tweaking the flagship Free Senior High School, Free SHS, policy.
He stressed that one of the key requirements to address the country’s economic challenges was to “enlarge our revenue envelope” and take drastic measures to reduce expenditure.
“I don’t see why we can’t touch Free SHS….Let parents who can afford to pay part of the cost. Policies that do not focus on human capacity development can be phased out.
“There are a lot of rigidities in our expenditure. Public sector compensations are huge. The public sector needs to be downsized to be more productive so that we can remunerate them better,” Dr Kwakye said.