Professor Ivan Addae-Mensah, a Fellow of the Academy on Friday 18th of November 2022 called for a review of the Free Senior High School programme, saying the current financing regime is not sustainable. He was delivering the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Lecture on the topic “Educational Reforms in Ghana and their Impact on the Youth.
In his presentation, he chronicled education from 1882 to the present time and the various reforms in the sector and spoke extensively about the Free Senior High School Policy in Ghana. He said the cost of the programme should be shared between the Government and parents who can afford to ensure equity. He appealed to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to heed calls for a relook at the policy.
He said a review of the policy “is not the same as abolishment” but would rather ensure quality education and improve standards “I advocate that we rather go the Caribbean and Latin American way where those who can afford to pay for all or part of their education do so; proceeds from, which can then be used to support those who are needy” he added.
Prof. Addae-Mensah stressed that the “blanket provision of Free SHS could lead to large enrolment, adding that if adequate resources and facilities were not provided, standards could drop to the detriment of those who could not afford to enroll their wards in private schools. He said Ghana’s first President, Dr Kwame Nkrumah preferred free education up to the Secondary level but “he was pragmatic enough not to introduce it at the time that he was in power.”
He went further to say If there is the blanket provision of free education for everybody, and there is a resultant increase in enrolment, there is the likelihood of population explosion, which not properly handled can result in a significant lowering of standards due to inadequate facilities, teaching, and poor teacher motivation.
About Free Senior High School
The Free SHS policy is the Government’s flagship education policy which commenced in 2017 as a policy intervention to ensure that every Ghanaian irrespective of their background has access to free secondary education.
Under the programme, beneficiaries are provided with free tuition, accommodation, and feeding.