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General News of Thursday, 6 May 2021

Source: happyghana.com

Dr. Apaak calls for national dialogue on ‘failed’ Free SHS policy

Dr. Clement Apaak, Ranking Member of Parliament’s select committee on education Dr. Clement Apaak, Ranking Member of Parliament’s select committee on education

Ranking Member of Parliament’s select committee on education, Dr. Clement Apaak, has supported calls by the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) for a national stakeholder engagement to review the free Senior High School (SHS) policy.

According to him, the policy can only be improved with such a dialogue.

“It is time for us to have a national dialogue on reviewing and making the free SHS better. The government has demonstrated that it is incapable and has refused to acknowledge and address the challenges faced with the rollout of the policy. Because challenges still exist with the Free SHS policy, it is important we hold the dialogue”.

Looking at the policy which calls for an all-inclusive and ‘free’ secondary education, the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Builsa South constituency disclosed, “Many of the schools are now working with the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) in the background to support them (schools)”.

He noted that the constant issues of infrastructural challenges and funding have always been a problem associated with the Free SHS policy and this is affecting the education of students.

Dr. Apaak revealed members of the parliamentary committee on education have always raised concerns on budgets and proposals for the policy, “but the committee chair has never heard us or called on the Minister of Education to address these concerns”.

He however believes when parliament resumes from recess, the sector minister will definitely be summoned to answer questions on the deficiencies of the policy and the way forward, he told Samuel Eshun on the Happy Morning Show.

Infrastructure remains the greatest challenge that the government’s Free SHS policy has faced since its introduction in 2017 regardless of the government’s efforts to improve this.

The policy has been plunged into other challenges that were foreseen by many other stakeholders including funding and the availability of teachers.

NAGRAT at a press conference organized to mark the May Day celebrations called for a national stakeholder engagement to analyze and review the Free Senior High School (SHS) policy.

The NAGRAT President, Angel Carbonu indicated that apart from the feeding fees, there were other fees on the bill that catered for the day-to-day running of SHSs across the country; however, with a freeze on all forms of payment by parents, many SHSs were suffering, hence the need for the stakeholder engagement to find a solution.

“The fact is Free SHS policy goes beyond the payment or non-payment of fees, but also the survival of the general school system,” the President of NAGRAT, Eric Carbonu said.

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