Although the government has come out on countless times to deny reports of a possible review of the free Senior High School (SHS) policy, the Child Rights International (CRI) has said any future plans to review it to allocate cost to parents will defeat the universality of the policy.
Once cost is assigned to the policy, CRI said, it will become a failed policy.
This is because the Free SHS policy is not a pro-poor policy but general policy that benefits both the underprivileged and privileged children. The universality of the policy was advanced on the basis that the poor and the rich pay tax and therefore social policies must benefit them all, the organization said in a statement.
“Already there are policies that are meant mainly for the poor as 80% of them strictly target the underprivileged. Programmes such as The Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP), School feeding programme at the primary level, free uniform, free shoes, capitation grants, etc.
“The only policy that is universal in nature is the Free SHS. Even though the policy design does not take cost from parents, an average parent is likely to spend 600 to 1200 in preparation towards enrolling his/her child to school. Further allocation will burden parental preparedness towards their wards in accessing free education in Ghana,” a statement issued by CRI on Saturday July 23 said.
Regrading whether or not the policy is being reviewed, the Ministry of Education has denied reports that its undergoing changes.
Earlier reports in a section of the media indicated that the government was reviewing the programme.
But a statement issued by the Public Relations Officer of the Ministry, Kwasi Kwarteng on Friday July 22 said “The Ministry’s attention has been drawn to some publications making the rounds which suggest an ongoing review of the Free SHS policy by the GES.
“According to the story, the said review is to determine how much parents can pay so far as the policy is concerned.
“For purposes of clarity, the Free SHS policy is not under the purported review.”