President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said that he is unlikely to reevaluate the Free SHS program due to its apparent effectiveness in expanding access and improving performance.
In the course of his recent visit to the Eastern Region, the President gave an interview to a local radio station in Nkawkaw, answering questions from listeners.
“I have to confess my attitude because when I hear the word ‘review’ I hesitate. Because the first people who are calling for the policy review opposed the policy. If those who didn’t want it are now calling for review, then my understanding is that, they want to review to reverse the policy.”
The President took to a defense that the outcome from the Free SHS policy was enough.
“So across board not only have we gotten access, but we have seen a significant improvement in outcomes. We don’t want this to continue, we are going to review it so that all of this improvement is in jeopardy. These five years of implementation of this policy, both of these things have been established. The data is here, Pass rate in English Language has improved from 33 percent in 2016 to 54.5 percent, Integrated Science 48.5 percent to 65.7 percent and Social Studies 54.5 percent to 66 percent.”
He said that changing the policy’s two main goals would be superfluous and urged individuals who want to see it revised to be specific about what changes they want to see made.
“But the two fundamental thrusts of the policy, one was expand access, that has been dramatically achieved. The other was to improve quality outcomes of education. The outcomes of the Free SHS Policy are a major improvement of the Pre-SHS data that we have.
“The policy is not cast in stone, it can be looked at, yes, but what we cannot do is to tamper with these two fundamentals things; access, we have to make sure everybody irrespective of their social origin, no matter their financial background has access to good quality secondary education.
“Because everybody recognises that this is a very important step for progress of our country. I have to confess, I am somehow skeptical when I hear this discussion of let’s review.
“I am not saying that those elderly people or clergy criticising don’t have good will for the policy, no I don’t want to be misunderstood. But I want to understand the areas which they are looking for review.”