Honorary Vice President of IMANI Center for Policy and Education, Kofi Bentil, has said the government’s flagship Free Senior High School (FSHS) programme is putting a strain on the economy of Ghana.
In a meeting with the vice presidential candidate of the NDC, Prof. Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, Thursday, September 10, Mr. Bentil, said though IMANI is not against Free SHS, it is not in support of the manner in which it has been implemented.
He said IMANI has a wealth of knowledge and expertise in the area of education and has since the inception of the Free SHS idea made insightful contributions to the discussions. He said IMANI has been more concerned about how the implementation strategy than it is about the mere concept.
“When free SHS came up we were the only group that robustly advanced arguments against it and people misconstrue it to say we are against FSHS. We are for free basic education up to the senior high school however it is defined but a good idea does not implement itself. If you want free basic education reaching everybody, the construct, the structure and the container or arrangement you put it in will determine whether it will work or not and we thought what was done with FSHS was not the best and we are saying it now”, he explained.
Mr. Bentil said some people may have been satisfied with the implementation of the policy so far, but noted it is putting a huge financial burden on the national purse.
“People say well it’s been done, it was successful and you people were against it. We can’t engage everybody but the truth of the matter is that FSHS is killing this economy. When you finish the cost of FSHS, finish paying for emoluments, and interest payments there is nothing left and that’s exactly what we said.”
The FSHS was the flagship policy of the New Patriotic Party in the build up to the 2016 elections. The policy has received major comments on its implementation since government rolled it out. The double track system which was adopted to see the effective implementation of the program, has faced lots of challenges since its inception.