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13 February 2017

Free SHS doable – Ablakwa

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President Akufo-Addo’s Free Senior High School policy is doable, a former Deputy Education Minister, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has confessed.

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) during the 2012 electioneering scathingly rubbished the feasibility of the policy.

But speaking on Morning Starr, Monday, Mr. Ablakwa departed from his party’s stern stance regarding the policy’s attainability stating that: “It is doable if we can find the resources.”

“It is about finding the resources and that is why I was hazarding a guess that perhaps they want to make substantial savings on the construction of these new secondary schools and then channel those savings into this progressively free programme,” he told host, Nii Arday Clegg.

That notwithstanding, the North Tongu Member of Parliament said the president’s continuous neglect on the quality aspect of the policy is worrying.

“We are not hearing commitments about quality,” he said, adding, “focus on the free aspect only can spark doom for us as a nation.”

He thus urged caution in the implementation of the policy stating that per this announcement enrollment is likely to shoot up.

He pointed out that:  “… From what I know working at the ministry and the many surveys by experts I have cited, there is the need to proceed with caution. There are a number of reports which I can make reference to in buttressing this point. There are these reports that are critical about how we go about these interventions.

“There is a report that says we should begin to target rather than this wholistic approach in providing free education. I think this is the time to look at those studies dispassionately and objectively,  because I think it is a very sensible argument.”

President Akufo-Addo over the weekend disclosed his government’s plan to fully implement its much touted campaign promise. He said the implementation will commence in September.

“By free SHS, we mean that, in addition to tuition which is already free, there will be no admission fees, no library fees, no science centre fees, no computer lab fees, no examination fees, no utility fees; there will be free textbooks, free boarding and free meals, and day students will get a meal at school for free,” he said.

 

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