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General News of Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Source: Myjoyonline.com

Joy News fact-checks deputy Education Minister’s claims on free SHS

One of the government’s ambitious programmes, free senior high school (SHS) will be rolled out across the country in this month, September.

Under the programme, junior high school graduates who qualify to SHSs will not be charged admission, library, science centre, computer laboratory, examination and utility fees.

Deputy Education Minister in charge of Secondary, Yaw Osei Adutwum made some claims relating to the implementation of the programme.

Joy News’ Raymond Acquah fact checked the claims and have found the following;

Adutwum: “Core text books are being distributed throughout the country. It [has] never happened before pre-text books for the core subject areas are all going.”

The Facts: THIS IS MOSTLY TRUE. It is true that text books are currently being distributed across the country. But this is not novel indeed the policy of provision of text books has been on for over a decade. According to Education Sector Performance report for the year 2016, the textbook per student ratio for English decreased from 0.56 in 2011 to 0.50 in 2016 that of Maths and Science also declined from 0.58 to 0.50 and 0.48 to 0.44 respectively.

Adutwum: “PTA’s were collecting what they called development levy, we have teacher motivation. It’s been captured in the [free SHS].”

The Facts: This is HALF true. It is true that some of the items previously captioned under the PTA dues section of the approved fees have been absorbed.

For example, the house dues and incentives packages have been absorbed. But the dues itself have not been absorbed, as has been indicated on page 28 of the Ministry of Education (MOE) document on free SHS which says “Under Free SHS all fees approved by the Ghana Education Service (GES) Council for 1st Year students, other than PTA dues, will be absorbed by government.”

As has been indicated by the Education Minister, Dr Matthew Opoku-Prempeh, ¢5 has been approved by the GES Council to be charged as PTA dues with the caveat that no student can be sacked for their parent's failure to pay the dues.

Adutwum: “70 percent of students who take the WASSCE fail every year. They don’t get A1 to C6. It is a tragedy in this country.”

The Facts: This is misleading. In order to qualify to pursue a degree programme at an accredited public tertiary institution, a candidate is expected to score A1 to C6 in six subjects.

According to the Ministry of Education's analysis of the trend published on August 15, 2016, since the WASSCE started in 2006, the years 2006 and 2007 recorded the worst performance of 12.5% and 10.6% respectively.

Since then, there has been a significant improvement in the trend with 2012 recording the highest performance of 31.2%. Tracing up the pass rates, 2013 could boast of 19.2%; 2014 had 28.1% as 2015 and 2016 tallied 20.2% and 24.7% respectively and for 2016 it was 24.7%.