Provide the Funding and Free SHS Will Be Smooth; NAGRAT Tells Gov’t

Tutors at second cycle institutions say the success of otherwise of government’s Free Senior High School education hinges squarely on how much money is made available.

Vice-President of the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), Angel Gabriel Kabornu said, they are ready to support the policy once there is an assurance that funding will not be truncated after implementation.

Whilst the policy has been lauded by many policy analysts, sustainability of its funding has been a source of concern.

Announcing the roadmap to the implementation of the programme at a news conference Thursday, Education Minister, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh revealed the World Bank and the Saudi government will be funding efforts to provide comprehensive free education for Senior High School students.

Qualified students will get government scholarship covering the entire three-year duration of their stay in school. Parents of students who are repeated for poor performance, will, however, have to bear the cost of their wards’ extended stay in school, Dr. Opoku Prempeh noted.

Speaking on the Super Morning Show on Joy FM Friday, July 28, 2017, Mr. Karbonu said the managers of the schools are less concerned about the source of the funds rather, they are anxious about the government making the funds promptly available to the schools.

“We are waiting for the funding to be available…and it should be available ‘timeously’ and then everything will be fine,” the NAGRAT president told show host, Kojo Yankson.

He demanded from the government, a “prudent analysis and adequate provision of resources” so that the policy does not become another burden on the school managers stressing that they “do not mind where the money ought to be coming from”.

The NAGRAT Vice-President is also calling for a review of the Ghana Education Policy on repeating poor performing students since such students could end up spending more than three years before they can sit for the West Africa Senior Secondary School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE).

“The policy of the Ghana Education service is that, when a school sees a child as not moving forward [performing poorly] and that child ought to be repeated, you can only repeat the child in agreement with the parent of the child. If the parent disagrees that the child be repeated, by the rules of Ghana Education Service, you can’t repeat that child,” he explained.

Bearing in mind the cost implications for the parent when a student is repeated, Mr. Karbonu said the schools would have to quickly review that policy because “what it means is that if you repeat a child a year or so, that child will be denied that scholarship”.

Meanwhile, President for IMANI Centre for Policy and Education, Franklin Cudjoe, fears the implementation of the free High School education policy could further weaken the country’s education system.

He said IMANI would rather have the government concentrate on improving infrastructure in the education sector, which “is the livewire of this country”.

“We are not just having people to pass through schools; we want the schools to pass through them. If there are challenges in infrastructure; if we have challenges with teacher qualities and equipment, then we are not making any progress.

“We seem to be sacrificing qualitative outcomes for mere political promises and that’s a great worry…we need to graduate this plan carefully,” Mr. Cudjoe cautioned.

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