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General News of Friday, 22 November 2019


Budget debate shifts to Free SHS

The debate on the education sector of the 2020 Budget statement in Parliament yesterday brought into sharp focus the merits and challenges of the free Senior High School policy introduced by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government led by President Akufo-Addo.

While the Minority National Democratic Congress (NDC) members were highlighting the challenges of the policy which, according to them, had combined to significantly affect quality at that level, the Majority NPP members were stoutly defending the policy, stressing that it had rather improved quality at that level and also made secondary education more accessible to Ghanaian youths who sit for the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE).

The Deputy Minister in charge of secondary education and NPP Member of Parliament (MP) for Bosomtwe, Dr. Yaw Adutwum, said that if the NPP government had not introduced the Free SHS policy, 56 per cent of the country’s human capital would have been at risk of not having access to higher education.

He said that the Free SHS had come to decentralize education in the country, pointing out that the issues of double-track system and congestions in the schools were all propaganda by the Minority NDC to discredit the new policy.

According to him, the government is embarking on more than 923 major infrastructural projects, including more classroom blocks and dormitories in the various senior high schools across the country.

He pointed out that the government has securitized the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund), yielding a whopping GH¢1.5 billion for infrastructural expansion in the education sector, with GH¢500 million earmarked for the tertiary level expansion of infrastructure.

The Ranking Member of the Education Committee and NDC MP for Akatsi North, Peter Nortsu-Kotoe, said the double-track system had affected the quality of education in the country.

He said when the NDC regained power it would scrap the double-track to help give more contact hours for students and also help improve the quality of teaching and learning at the secondary school level.