An Associate Professor of Finance at Andrews University, William Preprah, has voiced his concerns about the current implementation of the Free Senior High School (SHS) policy in the country.
Speaking on JoyNews’ PM Express, the Finance expert said the programme was set to encounter grave challenges since the modus operandi government employed from the onset was problematic.
“Making the Free SHS totally free, is where the problem comes in; free uniforms, free books, giving food which I think creates inequality,” he told host Ayisha Ibrahim on Wednesday.
While acknowledging the positive intentions behind the initiative, Prof. Preprah highlighted the issue of inequality arising from providing free uniforms, books, and meals to all students be it borders or day students.
Since its introduction, the Free SHS policy has significantly expanded access to education for Ghanaian students.
However, Prof. Preprah pointed out that the provision of free uniforms, books, and meals may inadvertently create disparities among students.
He emphasised that the system should strive for equality between day and boarding schools, as well as between students and boarders.
“We could have adopted an approach that would reduce the cost in a way that will equally benefit the day and boarding as well as the government.
It did serve a purpose in a way to have equality for both the students and boarders because if you look at it, those who were in the boarding house were benefiting more than those in the day school.
So can we try to eliminate some of the items? This will reduce the financial burden on the government.
“Those in boarding schools tend to benefit more than their counterparts in day schools.”
To address this issue, the Professor proposed a more balanced approach to reducing costs while ensuring equal benefits for all students.
He suggested reviewing the items provided by the government, such as uniforms and other essential supplies, to alleviate the financial burden on the government.
He also recommended that only one hot meal be provided by the government, and allow parents to contribute to the cost of additional meals.
“Can we try to eliminate some of the items?” Prof. Preprah questioned. “By doing so, we can reduce the financial burden on the government while maintaining equality in education.”
The professor also drew attention to the challenges faced in maintaining the quality of meals served to students. With limited resources, providing three nutritious meals to boarding students becomes increasingly difficult.