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General News of Thursday, 9 March 2017


Private schools deserve Free SHS - Group

A group calling itself Young Citizens for Accountable Governance (YOCAG) has described as “discriminatory” government’s decision to exclude private schools from its Free Senior High School policy.

The group also said government’s resolve to fund the Free SHS policy with the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA) was wrong because the ABFA is meant for public investment expenditure in physical development of the country.

The group in a statement said: “The Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA) is petroleum revenue. Article 257 of the 1992 constitution of Ghana and section (3) of the Petroleum ACT 2016 (ACT 919) clearly explains that Ghanaians are the owners of petroleum resources found in Ghana. Petroleum revenue must, therefore, benefit all the owners (Ghanaians) and not some section of Ghanaians.

“Applying the ABFA to only children in public schools is a dangerous discrimination that must be corrected immediately or the ABFA should not be used at all. How can all of us own a resource and you decide to apply the resource in the interest of only one owner? We will not agree.

The law is very clear without any ambiguity that petroleum resources of the country belong to all Ghanaians and its usage to finance [Free SHS] must benefit every Ghanaian in the senior high schools, both public and private.”

The group said the Free SHS policy should be extended to the private schools if only the ABFA funds would be used to finance it for the purposes of “equity and fairness”.

YOCAG has threatened to seek redress in court “if government does not include children in private schools and parliament approves the use of ABFA” for the Free SHS policy.