A leading member of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko has stated that the free SHS policy will remain free for all despite suggestions that the policy should target the poor and vulnerable.
The Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta is the latest to join the call for the policy to target those without the capacity and means to pay fees and allow those with the means to pay fees for their wards.
“The issue of free education, I don’t think it’s something that any of us can compromise on…It may be that there have to be changes in the way which we are administering it,” Mr Ofori-Atta said Monday in an interview on Citi FM.
The soft-spoken Finance Minister added “I can’t take my child to Achimota or Ordogonnor and then leave him or her and drive away and Ken Ofori-Atta not pay anything while I can pay for 10 people. You need to be able to get the data to then be discriminatory in how and who pays and who doesn’t pay.
“You would rather make a mistake if it is a mistake to get everybody in the system for the nation to then begin to have a conversation and say okay, this is good for us because we want our human capital to a certain level but maybe let’s begin to adjust it this way. But, I think the issue of opening up and people coming to reality about maybe we could do things a certain way is not a bad thing for a nation’s growth.”
The argument for the Free SHS to be targeted was made prior to the implementation of the policy by some groups like IMANI Africa and the National Association of Graduate Teachers, NAGRAT.
The government is facing huge challenges in financing its flagship education programme, the Free SHS.
However, in a tweet Wednesday, Otchere-Darko said the debate over the free SHS is healthy but added that the policy will remain as it is.
“NPP was elected on a platform of free SHS for all and that’s what it is and will be. The debate over means testing will, nevertheless, continue and should continue. Healthy.”