Private schools to be included in free SHS – NDC running mate

The National Democratic Congress has promised to include private schools in the free Senior High School programme introduced by President Akufo-Addo.

Giving highlights of the 2020 NDC manifesto on Monday, the party’s running mate Professor Naana Jane Opoku Agyemang, stated that the NDC will make the free SHS better and more inclusive.

“The next NDC Government will make the Free Senior High School Programme better by ensuring that its numerous challenges are addressed and higher standards introduced.

“We will also expand the Free SHS programme to cover students in private Senior High Schools in undeserved/deprived areas,” she promised.

It is the hope of the NDC to strengthen and sustain private participation in the delivery of secondary education in the country.

Commenting on the double track system, Prof Opoku Agyemang said the party will abolish it.

She also mentioned that the NDC will complete all abandoned structures for secondary and technical education including abandoned E-Blocks to cater for current students and expected increase in admissions.

Aside that, the party intends to set up schools in disadvantaged, over populated and under-served areas.

It will also commence the construction of at least one senior high school in districts without any.

The Free SHS which was introduced in September 2017, meant that the fees of every child in Ghana, who gained admission to a public Senior High School, will be absorbed by the government.

The policy enables all eligible secondary school students to attend public secondary schools free.

The government said the policy would remove any cost barrier that prevents students from achieving their educational goals.

It’s implementation was, however, fraught with some challenges. The increased rate of admissions caused a shortage of infrastructure in some schools with students reportedly sleeping on mattresses on the floor.

The government subsequently introduced the double-track system to deal with the infrastructural challenges.

Prior to the manifesto launch, the New Patriotic Party had expressed fears about the NDC scrapping the free SHS programme when voted into office.

President Nana Akufo-Addo had asked Ghanaians to reject the opposition NDC and its flagbearer, former President John Mahama, because they will collapse what the NPP has built.

President Akufo-Addo was convinced that Mr Mahama would scrap the Free Senior High School (SHS) despite a U-turn because of his zero credibility. 

But the former president John Dramani Mahama admonished Ghanaians to disregard claims that he will scrap the Free SHS policy if elected into office.

According to him, he has never been against the policy but against the implementation process, which he claimed had caused parents, students, and teachers great inconvenience.

“Free Senior High School education has come to stay. If anybody tells you that I, John Dramani Mahama, will abolish Free SHS when I come into power tell the person he is a bloody liar,” he said while paying a courtesy call on the Overlord of Dagbon, Ya-Na Abukari II.

The NDC on Monday reaffirmed its commitment to frees SHS.

“As a Social Democratic party, which puts people first, it is our firm belief that the human resource of the great nation is the most valuable asset.

“It is, therefore, our resolve that no child is left behind. We shall place emphasis on quality, access, affordability and relevance with our new approach to delivering education to all Ghanaians,” Prof Opoku Agyemang assured.

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