President of the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), Angel Carbonu, has stated that the government ignored several warnings made against the implementation of the Free Senior High School policy.
Mr. Carbonu intimated that the anticipatory challenges were so glaring but the government ignored the numerous calls made against the implementation of the policy, which he said needs a drastic review.
Lamenting about the challenges confronting the policy at a public forum dubbed ‘Achimota Speaks’ on the topic ‘The Governance, Management and Financing of Secondary Education in Ghana,’ Mr. Carbonu said either the government takes urgent steps to review the policy or risk worsening the already deplorable secondary education system in Ghana.
“When Free SHS was announced by the government, we congratulated the government but we also warned the government that we have been down this road before, where there were agitations when the universities wanted to introduce fee-paying because funds from the government were not coming and the facilities in the universities were running down.
“We knew that the government was going to renege on its responsibility on Free SHS because the resources of government are always in competition with other needs and wants.”Angel Carbonu
Mr. Carbonu further bemoaned the impact the poor implementation of the policy, has had on basic education, which he said has erased public confidence.
“The saddest aspect is the basic schools. All our public basic schools are running and some schools in ramshackle are getting students more than the public schools because the confidence in the public school is gone.”Angel Carbonu
Prof Ato Essuman Worried About Free SHS
Professor Ato Essuman, Chairman of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC), believes that free secondary education in Ghana will be meaningless, unless it is accompanied by skill development for students.
Although he believes the concept of Free Senior High School (SHS) is admirable, his worry, however, is that it falls short of teacher development and providing students with the necessary skills for the world of work or further education.
Prof. Essuman said this as the keynote speaker at the 2023 edition of Achimota Speaks, at the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences.
“The argument about free secondary education is about access and not enough about the content and the outcomes expected. Matters about skills development, teacher orientation, reorientation and training and development as well as new pedagogical approaches are less stressed. Clearly, fair attention to all these, is likely to produce students ready to transition either to the tertiary level or the world of work.
“The policy of making secondary education free and available to all is a lofty one but such a goal will be useless and needlessly expensive, if all it does is to create opportunity and give young people access without the skills that will make them great assets for the nation development or otherwise, the problems would continue to compound.”Professor Ato Essuman
Prof. Essuman, who is also the Dean of Education and Entrepreneurship at Methodist University College in Ghana, poked holes in what he feels to be the poor implementation of free secondary education in the country.
This, he blames for the numerous difficulties that have beset such initiatives.
“Implementing free secondary education in Ghana may have been desirable, if a gradualist approach and phased implementation of the program, had been adopted. Learning from other countries’ experiences may have led to better management of the policy.
“With the problem of inadequate resources and delays in funds released to schools, a strategy for mean testing to target the poor and the vulnerable could have been adopted. I do not think that as a country, we have many options.”Professor Ato Essuman
READ ALSO: ‘Show Me One Benefit Of Homosexuality”- Sam George to Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill critics
Leave a Reply