Free SHS suffering from an overdose of political tokenism – Solidaire Ghana


Solidaire Ghana Forum has called for an urgent review of the free SHS policy, warning that it’s suffering from an “overdose of political tokenism.”

The Forum’s Executive Directive, Benjamin Essuman, made the call on Wednesday, June 30, 2021, during a press soiree.

Citing a damning monitoring report on the policy by the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC), Essuman argued the graduates under the free SHS policy will be unable to globally compete “due to poor preparation, which the tertiary level of education must therefore work to correct.”

The damning PIAC report

According to PIAC, the FREE SHS implementation continues to suffer poor quality and unwholesomeness of supplies; irregular supply of food and other items such as textbooks were widespread.

The majority of the schools visited had insufficient classrooms, insufficient beds, insufficient labs, and insufficient equipment. There were poor or inadequate staff quarters and a prevalence of bed bugs.

There was a lack of infirmaries, and where they exist, the infirmaries had no qualified nurses to man the facilities.

A case in point is when the PIAC team arrived in time to save a student who had just had an asthma attack in one of the schools, with no infirmary and vehicle to convey the student to a health facility.

Akufo-Addo’s greatest achievement

Meanwhile, the vice president, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, ranked the free SHS as President Akufo-Addo’s greatest achievement in his first term.

A major campaign promise by the then opposition leader, President Akufo-Addo, the policy was launched in 2017 after the NPP won the 2016 elections in Ghana.

It has ensured that hundreds of thousands of students are in secondary school.

A little over 400,000 students were said to have benefited from the policy in its first year of implementation.

Speaking to Accra-based Asaase Radio on Sunday, November 29, 2020, the vice president bemoaned how the policy was strongly opposed by the NDC, placing over 40 adverts against it in the run-up to the 2016 elections.

Bawumia further stated that former president Mahama mocked the policy at every given opportunity.

“But, Nana Akufo-Addo had a clear vision. He knew where he wanted to take this country and the free SHS is part of the transformation agenda which he had been able to achieve.

“I think it’s a remarkable achievement. It’s a legacy for this country and…I’m very proud of it. So, yes, free SHS will be my number top achievement for this government in the first term,” the vice president stated.

Source: Daily Mail Gh

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