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General News of Thursday, 26 July 2018

Source: adomonline.com

Free SHS: Get your enrollment data right – Ablakwa chides government

Former Deputy Education Minister, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, has asked the Akufo-Addo government to stop the deceit surrounding the discussion on the proposed two-track Senior High Schools (SHS) system.

Speaking on Asempa FM’s Eko Sii Sen Thursday, Mr Okudzeto Ablakwa said the government keeps providing contradictory figures in relation to the number of first-year students fees it has absorbed, an act he says amounts to deliberate deceit.

“Paragraph 621 on Page 114 of the 2018 Budget Statement and Economic Policy presented to Parliament states that Government has absorbed the fees of all 353,053 first-year students. In that same 2018 Budget, Paragraph 799 on Page 142, Government in a weird twist provides another figure as they claim to have absorbed the fees of all 396,951 first-year students”, he observed.

“Then when the Finance Minister presented the Mid-Year Review only last Thursday the 19th of July, 2018, Parliament was presented with the third contradictory figure of 362,118 as contained in Paragraph 163 on Page 36.

“There is also a fourth conflicting figure of Free SHS beneficiaries contained in the document titled “Implementation of Free SHS Programme, Preparation for 2018/19 Academic Year by Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh, Hon. Minister of Education”, the North Tongu MP revealed.

The situation, Mr Ablakwa said, raises a lot of questions as government has failed to get the implementation of Free SHS right when it cannot get its basic data right.



“Is it any wonder they have been unable to carry out any serious planning? There is the other important question of the source of President Akufo-Addo’s much-trumpeted figure of 90,000 additional Free SHS beneficiaries who will otherwise have been left at home but for his intervention. Government’s own numerous contradictory figures do not support this 90,000 claim”, he said.

The former Deputy Education Minister has, therefore, urged the government to, as a matter of urgency, discard the idea of a two-track system, describing it as a shift system.

He asserts the shift system has come about because the government spent, largely, all of its education budget paying fees for every first-year student including those from affluent backgrounds and therefore neglected its infrastructural obligations.