General News of Monday, 26 November 2012

Source: Daily Graphic

Don't condemn free SHS policy - Nana Konadu

Former First Lady Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings has said that no one should condemn the notion of free senior high school (SHS) education, which she called achievable.

"People should stop talking against the free SHS and rather look at the education programme enshrined in our constitution.

"It is a right and has to be done; every political party has to do it. It is obligatory," she said.

She said that the issue of quality was not limited to SHS but should be pursued at every level of education from pre-school to tertiary.

Nana Konadu was speaking to the Daily Graphic in an exclusive interview in which she announced that she was no longer going to battle the EC to endorse her as her party's presidential candidate as procedures in the electoral processes were too far along. Rather, she said, she will now focus her energy on ensuring that most of her party's parliamentary candidates are elected into Parliament.

She said she did not understand why people would question the possibility of free SHS, saying that at present SHS education is highly subsidised by the government, meaning that it is already almost free.

She explained that fee hikes at the SHS usually come from expenses other than tuition such as Parent Teacher Association (PTA) levies, sports levies and other levies instituted by the schools themselves.

Free SHS, she said, was a constitutional right and therefore was possible.

However, she said that there is a lot of room for improvement in Ghana’s education system, saying that "for me, it is not the free but how do we get the children to actually go to school and stay in school and make something for themselves”.

In the three northern regions , for example, she pointed out that education is free but many children still drop out of school.