Some Senior High School students who attended a stakeholder’s forum on education held by the Parliamentary Select Committee on Education in Somanya in the Eastern Region received thunderous applauds from participants after disputing claims by Chairman of the committee about the free Senior High School Policy.
The Chairman of the Committee, William Quaitoo, the Member of Parliament for Akyem Oda in his submissions stated that free text books had been provided to the students as part of the package of the policy but this was swiftly rebutted by the Students who were at the forum.
According to the students, only core Science and Mathematics textbook have been provided since the implementation of the program hence struggling to have the full complement of textbooks to study adding that, they are also facing challenges with infrastructure and inadequate desks.
“Free SHS is not entirely free even though it is free. We the students here we face some problems. The plastic chairs in the schools used for ceremonial programs were bought by our predecessors and if right now they say they are coming for it, it means we have to stand or squat,” a student of Yilo Krobo Senior High School stated.
She added “Someone [Student] stated about text books, that one it’s true, the government only gave us Science and then Mathematics, [they] didn’t give us all [the core subjects], he gave us only two so if the chairperson is saying they gave us all the text books, I have doubts, it is not true.”
Reacting to the concerns of the students, the Chairman of the Parliamentary select Committee on Education, William Quaitoo, explained that “free SHS is virtually free and it is almost free but not 100% free”.
According to him, government acknowledges the teething challenges which has characterized the policy which he says are being addressed.
Speaking to the Media after the Program, the Member of Parliament for Yilo Krobo, Magnus Amoatey said the poor implementation of the Free SHS policy is hampering on quality education and at the same time affecting other sectors of the economy.
According to him though he commends the NPP for the courage in implementing the Policy, he believes it should have been properly thought through before implementation to mitigate the avoidable challenges manifesting as a result of the rushed implementation of the Program.
“During the campaign you recall they had no clear message for Education, they just came out overnight to say we will implement free SHS and they have implemented it we commend them for that courage…but we all know, all of us know that the implementation of the Free SHS program is hampering other sectors of the economy.
“Yes, a lot of money is going into education now. When you go to fora in health, they are complaining, when you go to the road sector everybody is complaining about poor roads now.”