Paul Amaning, the Eastern Region New Patriotic Party (NPP) Chairman hopeful, say the current economic challenges give government a perfect opportunity to review its flagship programme – Free SHS, as it is draining the public purse and leaving little for other sectors.
According to him, the Free SHS programme can be reviewed without sacrificing quality if government off-loads some of the financial burden onto parents.
In an interview with Accra-based Kingdom FM he said it is no defeat for government if it revises the flagship programme and gets parents involved, especially with the present economic conditions – adding that a lot of parents are ready to support the policy should there be need.
“I don’t think anyone is calling for cancelation of the Free SHS, because an educated population is certainly better than an uneducated one. The issue has to do with the financing. We have financed it totally, and we have reached a stage where our resources are not enough. Perhaps is about time we looked at areas where we can cut spending without hurting the quality of Free SHS.
“Otherwise, if we continue to push it, quality might suffer. We are not asking that it should be cancelled, but look at it again and see where you can ask parents to support. Many are willing to support in order to make the programme sustainable,” he said.
“Nobody has said Free SHS is not good; it is a very good policy. In fact, if you need a country to grow, you need it to be able to develop its human capital. No doubt about that, but we can’t always have wholesale policies. We need to be able to look at the segment of people who need it. If we carry out wholesale policies, what happens is that we widen further the equality gap.
He added that this is the right time to review the policy, given there are students waiting to enter senior high school this academic year – which can serve as piloting.
“I think we can find ways of rationalising this. We can find ways of targetting this so that the funds will be spent efficiently. There is no doubt that Free SHS is draining the economy and there will be very little resources left to do other things. This is the right time to review, because there are people waiting to start the senior high and we could start with them,” she said.
Source: Richard Obeng Bediako/Kingdomfmonline.com