General News of Tuesday, 13 November 2012
A former Education Minister Dr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah has advised parents to be prepared to pay the appropriate fees to give their children quality education, instead of embracing an inferior free education policy.
He said the fact that people reject the relatively free basic school education being offered by public schools and rather send their wards to expensive private schools, should be sufficient reason why the free senior high school education being promised now should not be accepted without scrutiny.
“Why do some parents not allow their children to go to the free primary school that we have right now"? he asked.
Dr Spio-Garbrah who is also the Acting president of the Dominion University College was speaking to Myjoyonline.com after the launch of the Global Entrepreneurship Week Ghana 2012 in Accra under the sponsorship of LESDEP.
He told Myjoyonline.com there is the likelihood that Ghana’s educational standards would be at risk if SHS is made free now.
“People don’t want to pay, and when you don’t pay for something that is important, you don’t tend to get the right quality,” he remarked.
“If you bring so called free SHS, it will be there, but what will be there? The teachers will go to the classroom, they won’t teach with the hot stuff during the working hours. They’ll tell you that if you want the stuff, come and see me in the afternoon at three o’clock, you pay extra and I’ll give you the stuff. Is that not already going on in certain schools? There will be more of that. So it’s not simply a matter of free.”
He however conceded that with time, Ghana would be ready for a free SHS.
“So yes, there should be a time when based on the natural resources that we have, based on the options we have, we will make schooling as free as possible. The constitution of Ghana actually requires that - primary education, basic education, senior education, university education be free. But if you try and push it through as a policy without taking care of the content… there’s something defective in our educational content and all of us can take some responsibility for it.”
He further stated: “I know the debate is about free versus content, but I think that content is what you must focus on.”