Former Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Prof Ivan Addae-Mensah has said that Akufo-Addo-led administration must take a second look at the implementation process of the Free SHS policy.
According to the professor of chemistry, in spite of the flowery prospects of the policy, it is plagued with some implementation deficits which must be addressed to ensure effectiveness.
Speaking in an interview with TV3’s Alfred Ocansey, the renowned professor who was a member of the consultation process in developing the Free SHS policy argued that it is not too late to fix issues regarding the formulation, implementation and sustainability of the policy.
“I made it very clear that things were not like what they were 50 or 60 years ago when most children could not afford the fee for school. Now we have quite a lot of people who can afford to pay fees at the senior high level…Ideally, I don’t think that it is too late to revisit the issue.
However, he was quick to point out the overly polarized nature of the political system as a reason why the government may never revisit the policy and fix it.
He believes an attempt by the President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his government to revisit the Free SHS policy, will create an enabling platform for opposition parties to capitalise on to score cheap political points.
Prof Addae-Mensah said, “…but it has now become a political thing and we’re in an election if the president says that we’re going to revisit the issue, the opposition parties or the minority parties are going to take it up…and it will be a political disaster.”
“On the hand, if he doesn’t go back to it, we may have a price to pay in future economically. And now these children who are now being produced amass will soon be going to the universities, where are they going to be put, we haven’t even started planning that aspect of it and how much it’s going to cost…,” he added.
The Free SHS policy is one of the flagship programmes of the Akufo-Addo-led administration launched in September 2017, to alleviate the plight of poor people by absorbing the financial burdens parents face in paying school fees.
In order to meet the expected enrolment numbers in senior high schools, the Education Ministry proposed the adoption of a Double-track school calendar which has since been described as the engine of the Free SHS policy.