Free SHS now, not in 20 years


Photo Reporting: Free SHS now, not in 20 yearsFree SHS now, not in 20 years

12 September 2012

The Campaign Manager of the New Patriotic Party, Boakye Agyarko, says the ruling National Democratic Congress’ staunch belief that providing free senior high school education is not possible goes to show that they have lost touch with the concerns and aspirations of ordinary Ghanaians.   



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He has therefore asked Ghanaians to choose between a government which will implement free SHS in its first term in office and one that will only implement free SHS education in 20 years from now.

“The provision of free SHS is feasible and under an Akufo-Addo administration it will be done. The NDC says free SHS can be achieved in 20 years. The NPP says free SHS can be provided now. The choice is for the good people of Ghana to make,” stated.

Mr Agyarko was reacting to the Minister of Education’s assertion that the provision of free SHS to school going children could only be possible after 2032, and that once Dr Kwame Nkrumah could not provide free SHS, no Ghanaian can provide do so.

“Does that mean that what Nkrumah could not do, no Ghanaian or Ghanaian generation can or must achieve? That may be the NDC way, but that, certainly, is not the NPP way. We believe we can do it and we will choose to do it,” Mr Agyarko said.

He continued, “It is only a reckless and uncaring government that can, like the NDC, see the urgency in finding some GH¢858 million in three years to pay judgement debts and, yet, cannot imagine how to find money to invest in the future of our children, most of whom are being failed today by the existing education system.”

The NPP, according to Boakye Agyarko, “will not wait for 20 years before all our children get free SHS. The future of our children matter and we are determined to transform the lives of the majority of them who might, otherwise, face a bleak future without the proper foundation that secondary education offers.”

In explaining the cost implications of this policy, the NPP campaign manager said Mr Lee Ocran did not himself abreast of the facts of the NPP’s policy, when the Minister said the cost of the free SHS policy for the 2013/2014 academic year, being GH¢78 million, was unrealistic.

“We have never said that”, Boakye Agyarko charged.

Throwing more light on the cost implications of the policy, Mr Agyarko explained that governments work with annual budgets, and as such the direct additional cost of implementing free SHS (which consists of the following fees: admission, library, computer, science centre, examination, boarding, feeding, entertainment, textbooks and utilities) is estimated to be GH¢78 million for the 2013 budget year. This will only involve the first academic term, from September 2013 to December 2013, and not the full academic year.

Mr Agyarko also explained that the NPP had factored in an amount of GH¢676.8 million every year, from 2013 to 2016, to expand the infrastructure of existing Senior High Schools and TVET institutions and the training and recruitment of teachers.

“For the avoidance of doubt, let me repeat, the NPP will in 2013 spend a total amount of GH¢754.6 million (i.e. GH¢78m on recurrent expenditure plus GH¢676.8 on additional infrastructures and teachers) to provide free SHS. In 2014, that figure will be GH¢965 million as enrolment shoots up, going up further to GH¢1.19 billion in 2015, and GH¢1.45 billion in 2016”, Boakye said.

He added that the NPP was not going to argue with GH¢1.2 billion a year figure put out by the NDC, explaining that the ruling party’s costing include the cost inflated contracts, citing an example of how the cost of building a six-unit classroom block jumped from GH¢80,000 in 2008 to GH¢260,000 and beyond by 2010 under the Mills-Mahama administration.

Nana Yaw Dwamena




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