Minority will back Free SHS Bill – Apaak assures

A Deputy Ranking Member of Parliament’s Education Committee, Dr Clement Apaak, has disclosed that the Minority in Parliament will support the Free Senior High School (SHS) Bill when introduced in Parliament.

According to Dr Apaak, backing the bill will end speculation that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) intends to cancel the policy if it comes into power.

“We will support the bill and get it passed into law if that is what is going to give assurance to every Ghanaian that NDC has no intention today, tomorrow or in the future to cancel the policy,” he said on TV3.

Despite calls from educational bodies for a review of the Free Senior High School (SHS) policy, the government has revealed that measures are being taken to present a Free SHS bill to Parliament in the coming days.

This move comes amidst concerns of possible cancellation by future governments and challenges faced by the programme.

The bill is aimed at regulating the Free SHS policy and ensuring its sustainability in the interest of citizens.

Stakeholders in the educational sector, including EduWatch, an education policy research organisation, have suggested that parents who opt for boarding facilities should cover the associated fees.

EduWatch also recommended that the free SHS policy should only focus on children from poor households, using data from the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme as a reference point.

The Majority Leader in Parliament, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, hinted at the bill at a press briefing ahead of parliament’s resumption from break on Tuesday, June 11, 2024.

He indicated that a finalised bill is ready for presentation by the Education Minister, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum.

According to him, the move is to prevent any government from attempting to abort the policy.

“I’m also able to report that the Education Minister will present the Free SHS Bill to Parliament. Chapter five of the Constitution provides some aspirational indicatives. Those are not justiciable, but once by a policy of the government, an aspiration as a message by the constitution is put into action then to make it justiciable, you enact.

“In other words, there are provisions in the constitution that you cannot enforce; you cannot claim the right to those provisions. The fact that they are there does not mean that you can apply to the court to enforce those rights; they are aspirational,” he noted.

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