The Minority in Parliament has called on the government to pay heed to the advice of the International Monetary Fund on reviewing the implementation of the Free Senior High School policy.
In a statement released on Tuesday, May 23, 2023, the Minority stated that the concerns by the IMF had already been raised by many in the country including the opposition NDC, but the government jhas remained adamant.
According to them, they cautioned the government to hasten slowly to allow for a proper rollout of the policy, and later called for a review, but their concerns were misconstrued.
“Areas that the Minority and former President of the Republic, John Dramani Mahama identified for review are exactly what the IMF has identified. These include serious targeting of the vulnerable in the senior high schools that needed support. That was what was done by the NDC government when it introduced the progressively Free SHS in 2015.”
“Infrastructure remains a big challenge in the senior high schools. A large number of projects started by the President Mahama administration to provide enough space for both accommodation and academic work remains uncompleted. If the government had not abandoned these projects, the infrastructure deficits would have been minimal,” they indicated.
The Minority stated that the poor implementation of Free SHS has not only affected senior high school education but also led to the neglect of basic education in Ghana.
This, they noted, has had a negative impact on the quality of education, adding “we have observed the dwindling allocation of funds for basic education but the government has been adamant in this direction.”
The minority NDC’s position comes after IMF described the government’s flagship Free SHS Senior High School (SHS) programme as poorly targeted.
The Fund made this observation in its latest country report on Ghana, whose request for a $3 billion bailout it recently approved.
The IMF also disclosed that Ghana spends close to 4% of its GDP on education with good results in terms of enrollment but poor learning outcomes.
Key identified areas by the IMF which require potential improvement in education spending include strengthening primary education resources, better teacher training, and stronger performance-based funding practices.
Meanwhile, the Minority has called on the government to among other things release money to the heads of Senior High Schools to enable them to run their schools efficiently and make the needed changes to ensure quality education.
“The current calendar for senior high schools must be reviewed because the first-year students who reported in February this year and went on holidays during Easter are still home. This is impacting negatively on their academic work. In the end, they are unable to do the three years of the secondary school programme,” they noted.
The Minority added that “it is our belief that this government which claims to be a ‘listening government’ will listen to what the IMF has said and give our future leaders the quality of education that they deserve so that in the next two decades the country does not suffer any human resource challenges.”