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Sources of funding for Free SHS will be in 2018 budget - Minority told

The deputy Education Minister in charge of secondary says the sources of funding for government’s free senior high school (SHS) policy will be captured in the 2018 budget.

Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum told Evans Mensah on Joy FM’s Top Story Monday, funding for the programme has never been a problem, contrary to fears by some Ghanaians.

He said critics of the programme would embrace the vision of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo if they appreciated the relief it will bring to families across the country.

“If you have any observation it is welcome,” Dr Adutwum announced government’s readiness to listen to opposing views.

The Minority in Parliament has described the current programme as a sham, saying it was not what was promised Ghanaians in 2016.

The opposition lawmakers at a news conference in Accra said the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) had promised to roll out a free SHS on a “universal basis” but that is not what has happened.

The Minority is displeased a total number of 565,404 continuing students across the country have been kept out of the programme's beneficiary list.

Former deputy Education Minister, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa said although the Minority supports any attempt to make education progressively free, it is convinced the free SHS needs to be relooked at.

“We are for proper implementation [and] as we speak there is no dedicated source of funding,” the North Tongu MP said, claiming the $100 million, an equivalent of ¢400 million allocated for the programme is a paltry sum.

The former Minister also raised issues with the quality of education which he said will suffer if some structural challenges with the programme are not addressed by government.

But Dr Adutwum said the Minority has chosen to elevate funding as a major issue with the programme when it is actually not.

He said the programme is also targeting the general improvement of secondary education to ensure that lessons taught students are done in a holistic manner.

“Ghanaian schools are not doing well and we have to face the reality,” he said, adding about 70 percent of graduates from senior high schools are unable to obtain grades good enough to access tertiary education.

Asked if the government has a policy document on the programme, Dr Adutwum answered in the affirmative, saying it has been made available to agencies under the Ministry of Education for effective coordination.