Free SHS may collapse next decade if government fails to target poor – Haruna
The government’s flagship education program, the free Senior High School (SHS) policy, may collapse within the next decade if it is not properly targeted, according to the former Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu.
Speaking in parliament, the Tamale South MP called for an inbuilt testing mechanism to determine who can pay and who cannot pay. He argued that the policy must be designed to ensure that the rich and affluent pay their fair share, as organizations like UNESCO have advised.
“Ghana needs to take advantage of UNESCO’s advice on secondary education. How accessible is it, what is the quality, are we running a secondary education that produces quantity and not quality? Ghana needs a test mechanism to determine who can pay and who cannot pay.
This political thing of wanting to please everybody at the detriment of quality will hang in this country in the next decade if we don’t look back,” he stated.
The free SHS policy, which was launched by the government in 2017, provides free education for all students in public senior high schools across the country. However, critics have argued that the policy has not been properly targeted, with many wealthy families taking advantage of the program.
The government has spent over 5 billion cedis on the policy between 2017 and 2021, but Iddrisu argues that the program may collapse within the next decade if it is not properly targeted.
In response to Iddrisu’s comments, the Majority Chief Whip, Frank Annoh-Dompreh, argued that the policy is a work in progress and will in future accommodate the suggestions of means testing. He also pointed out that the policy has brought relief to many families.
“The policy is still work in progress and we are taking suggestions. We will take into account the suggestions of means testing. The free SHS has brought relief to many families,” he said.
The future of the free SHS policy remains uncertain, but it is clear that if the government fails to properly target the program, it may collapse within the next decade.
It remains to be seen whether the government will take the necessary steps to ensure that the policy is sustainable in the long run.