The Vice President of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama, has waded into the controversial ‘Free SHS’ debate and has stated government’s position on the raging brouhaha indicating that Senior High School education should be made accessible rather than free.
According to the Vice President, “the major problem with SHS is access and so rather than making it free, use that money to expand access.”
Mr. Mahama was speaking at the launch of the second ‘Green Book’ which outlines the achievements of the current National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration.
The book – “Overview of the Better Ghana Agenda” – focuses on the four thematic areas on which the NDC campaigned which include Governance, Economy, People and Infrastructure.
The Vice President intimated that government would raise “funding to expand access [to secondary education] so that the more that 50 percent of children who complete basic schools, who are qualified to do a secondary education but cannot find the space would be able to find that space.”
“Any additional funding that we can leverage would go to make basic education freer because that is the constitutional obligation.”
He added: “Even though we’re paying a capitation grant of GhC 4.5, if you ask parents they are paying additional fees at the basic level and so if you have additional money, rather than make secondary education free, you should apply it to the basic level to make the basic level freer so that as many Ghanaian children as possible can at least gain education up to the Junior High School level.”
The issue of making SHS free has become an issue in Ghana with a policy think-tank IMANI-Ghana saying it is not feasible. However, some political parties including the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), the Convention People’s Party (CPP) and the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) have made it a key campaign promise.