Free SHS: NDC to end double track with private schools inclusion

Prof. Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang

Private school owners and parents have described as “very welcoming,” the National Democratic Congress’s (NDC’s) decision to include private schools in the Free Senior High School (SHS) programme, when the party wins the upcoming general elections and assumes the administration of the country.

According to the NDC, the plan to include private schools in the programme is a  measure to end the double track system which is causing nuisance to parents and their wards.

This was stated by the NDC’s running mate, Prof. Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, who said that the second-cycle schools in the private sector also need to be roped into the national initiative. 

“We plan to make the Free SHS more inclusive by expanding it to cover students in private senior high schools in under-served and deprived parts of the country,” she said.

This move has been widely accepted by parents, ward’s and the heads of private senior high schools. A parent in Kumasi who prefers to remain anonymous said, “This is welcoming news for my family and I, because my house is close to a private Senior High School, and my daughter loves that school so much and has often told me she wants to attend that school if she completes Junior High School in 2021”.

“My brother, I am just a mere taxi driver; how can I afford to send my ward there,” he asked; so if Mr. Mahama is promising to extend Free SHS to private senior high schools, my family and I will vote for him”.

The Executive Director of the Ghana National Council of Private Schools (GNACOPS), Enoch Gyetua, says the association welcomes the decision of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to expand the Free SHS policy to include private schools.

Reacting to the announcement by the NDC on Atinka FM’s AM Drive Show with host, Ekourba Gyasi, Mr. Gyetua said the introduction of the Free SHS rendered most of the private school owners and workers jobless and that if the NDC has acknowledged this defect and seeks to help, they cannot reject it.

“We are for open participation for education delivery. GNACOPS has had numerous talks with government on Free SHS. Section 27 of the Education Act empowers the Ministry of Education to include private schools in its policies to enhance open participation in programmes in the sector and so inclusion is a step in the right direction.

What we will have to do is to go to the drawing board and find out the best possible way to roll us onto the policy” he noted.   

The NDC’s  People’s Manifesto outlined various interventions for secondary education. They include, making the Free Senior High School Programme better by ensuring that it’s numerous challenges are addressed, and higher standards introduced.

It also promises to abolish the double-track system, and ensure that newly created regions have functioning directorates of education. The party will also commence the construction of at least one senior high school in districts without same and set up schools in disadvantaged, over-populated and under-served areas including Zongos.

Source: Daily Mail GH

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