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Minority predicts collapse of SHS in 5 years

The Minority in Parliament have predicted a collapse of the country’s Senior High School (SHS) education in five years if the challenges plaguing the sector under the free SHS policy are not fixed.

They say the challenges bedeviling SHS education under Akufo-Addo's flagship Free SHS policy are overwhelming and will cripple the schools soon.

Contributing to a debate on the floor of parliament on the 2018 budget statement, former Deputy Education Minister, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, said the provision made for the policy in the 2018 budget is inadequate.

“In 2018, we are talking about four terms, and yet you have provided for only ¢1.13 billion for free SHS; woefully inadequate.

"But Mr Speaker, what is more even troubling is that the whole of Ghana was expecting that the Budget under education would come with a Marshal Plan; a rescue package for the disaster, which this country is grappling with," he said. 

Related: Free SHS challenges: Klo-Agogo students ‘packed like sardines’ in dormitories

In September this year, government rolled out its lead campaign promise during the 2016 campaign.

A little over two months after the implementation of the policy, there has been a number of challenges being recorded at some of the schools.

Even though the free SHS policy increased school enrolment in all Schools across the country it came with its attendant infrastructural challenges. 

Citing examples from various publications, the North Tongu MP Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa mentioned the Majority leader as well as a leading member of the NPP, Dr Amoako Tuffuor as having complained about the challenges being faced by some students and school heads.

Related: SEND-Ghana takes on gov’t over ‘unsustainable’ Free SHS funding

“The Director of Ghana Education Service (GES) Prof. Opoku Amankwa, who is currently on a tour said ‘This is the verdict, Free SHS faces serious challenge’,” the MP said.

But Deputy Education Minister, Dr Yaw Adutwum, has dismissed the Minority's concerns insisting the policy is working just fine.

He said page 143 of this budget statement, introduced Ghanaians to the Akufo-Addo’s Programme for Economic Transformation which will make the country better.

Deputy Education Minister, Dr Yaw Adutwum

Dr Yaw Adutwum said he is encouraged that Mr Ablakwa said the children were learning under challenging circumstance which is better than no learning at all.

“I’d rather have the children learning under trees than walking the streets and selling dog chains.

“I would have rather have children eating under trees than going hungry… Free SHS has become a reality and now the naysayers are coming out of the woodworks to attack the programme," he said.

According to him, free secondary education is a game changer for the country's industries which will turn around the fortunes of the country.