We cannot allow Free SHS to fail – Steve Manteaw

The chairman of the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC), Dr. Emmanuel Steve Manteaw has said that Ghana cannot afford to fail the implementation of the Free Senior High School policy.

This he said is because, Ghana’s economic indicators at the time of the implementation of the policy in September 2017 are far better than Uganda, the first African country to implement the plan and sustain it.

He says, while the Ugandan government had little sources of finance for its policy, Ghana has had multiple sources to enable it to sustain the policy.

Speaking at a national dialogue on education in Takoradi in the Western Region, Dr. Manteaw said, Ghana has no basis to fail the policy because everything economic is just on our side.

“The population of Uganda was 29.9 million people when they introduced free high school education. in the year Ghana introduced free SHS the population of Ghana was 27.14 million. We are at a place to implement the free SHS than Uganda was when it did. Uganda’s GDP in 2015 was 27.5 billion, in the same year Ghana’s GDP was 37.5 billion. So how have they handled their free secondary education, from taxes and a bit from donors,”

“What do we have as a country, we have taxes, we have gold, we have diamond, magnesium, bauxite, so if we cannot do it, it is a serious indictment on Ghana,” he said.

The government rolled out the Free SHS policy in September 2017 in fulfillment of its campaign promise in the build to the 2016 general election.

The policy has so far increased enrollment in SHSs by about 90,000 students.

But, less than a year after its implementation, a number of challenges such as the non-availability of space in SHSs have forced the government to adopt a new mode of operation for second-cycle institutions – the double track system to take effect in September 2018.

President Akufo-Addo said nothing would stop the government from going ahead of the policy.