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28 July 2017

Free SHS: Akufo-Addo’s resolve draws hope in policy – Kofi Bentil

Vice President of think tank, IMANI Centre for Policy and Education, Kofi Bentil, says although concerns over the sustainability of the free SHS policy are legitimate, government’s resolve is rubbing off on critics.

Mr. Bentil said Thursday on current affair programme PM Express that fears over the economy’s inability to sustain the project notwithstanding, Nana Akufo-Addo and his appointees in the education sector have come across as determined and committed to making the Free SHS policy work.

“The political will has not waned. If anything it has strengthened,” he said on the talk show that airs on the Joy News channel on Multi TV.

During a press briefing Thursday, the Education Minister, Mathew Opoku-Prempeh, said the state of Ghana’s economy will not delay the implementation of the programme.

He said bad economy or not, the policy will be rolled out in September this year since Ghana has never really had a good economy.

The education policy is designed to make tuition for senior high school education free.

Critics, including IMANI, have red flagged funding and quality education issues.

Funding for the policy, for instance, is estimated to take a chunk of the national budget expenditure.

Speaking on the issue on PM Express, Mr Bentil said despite a slight alteration in the specifics of the policy by the current administration, the cost remains a legitimate concern.

He, however, said President Nana Akufo-Addo’s actions with regards the policy seems too convincing to nurture the concerns.

“Free SHS was not designed to be supported by our economy. That was one of the things we were saying and we that if we were going to do this, we have sacrifice other things…

“I remember the president saying that if he was going to use all the oil money for the project he will do that – so the political which has not waned exudes a lot of confidence that this government will do whatever it needs to do to make this programme a success and that is a plus,” he said.

He warned also that although the determination is good, government must still do a thorough job at planning and implementation.

He has admonished champions of the policy to publish at least one paper on the policy.

“The project roll out paper” he said, “will put to bed all the questions that will arise,”

Watch the full discussion on the Free SHS policy in the video link below.

 

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