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08 July 2016

Gov’t’s wholesale boarding subsidy to students is counter-productive- VIAM boss

viamThe Executive Director of the education think tank VIAM Africa is questioning government decision to provide free boarding education to Senior High School students when the Academic year begins in August.

Dr Prince Armah said the policy runs counter to government’s own strategic education policy plan it launched in 2010.

Dr Armah in an interview quoted page 30 of the policy document as saying “that most of the students attending public senior secondary come from private school are not poor and so do not receive boarding subsidy.

“However it is important to subsidize needy students especially those from northern and other hard to reach areas” he said.

The VIAM Africa Executive director is now wondering how government will make a u-turn by providing boarding subsidy to the supposedly rich private school students in public schools.

His comments are in reaction to government’s decision to provide subsidies to students in boarding schools under the second phase of the free SHS policy.

Dr Prince Armah argued that the wholesale financing of students in public schools will not augur well for a country with limited resources.

He said the policy does not appear to align with government’s own education strategy.

“A lot of people from disadvantaged backgrounds need support. That is where we should be turning our attention on,” he said.

He argued it is not everybody who cannot pay their boarding fees. “Some people can pay,” he insisted.

“We need to be doing a need based assessment before coming out with policies like that,” he opined and tasked the government to look at the Ministry of Manpower for a model on need testing so it will be able to identify students who may be in dire need of the subsidies and provide it.

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