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Prof Adei demands stakeholder consultation on Free SHS bill

Source The Ghana Report

A former Rector of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), Professor Stephen Adei, has advised the government to consider a stakeholder engagement on the proposed bill on Free Senior High School.

The bill comes amid concerns about the programme’s potential cancellation by future administrations and the various challenges it currently faces.

At a press briefing on Tuesday, June 11, 2024, the Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, highlighted the government’s intention to enhance the policy’s effectiveness and sustainability, in line with the aspirations detailed in Chapter 5 of the Constitution.

He noted that while these constitutional provisions are not legally binding, the government aims to make them enforceable through legislation.

“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.

READ ALSO: Bill To Entrench Free SHS In The Offing

But Prof Adei has advised that if the majority in parliament is ready to present the bill before the house, they should do so transparently.

“If they are coming out, let them come out so that we will all have an opportunity, but this advanced possible rejection and saying that it will solve all problems, then we must all be dead because you are saying that we shouldn’t do anything about health until we have solved all problems in health. That is a loose argument,” he said.

“I believe that whatever the law is when it comes out, it will give some of us an opportunity to know what the government is thinking about, what they are pushing forward, and we will either ask them to be treated, opposed or reject it,” he said on Joy News.

Meanwhile, the Ghana Education Service (GES) has already approved Parent Associations (PAs) to raise funds in support of the Free Senior High School (SHS) policy.

It will be recalled that in 2019, the government halted Parents Teachers Association (PTA) levies due to widespread complaints about high costs.

This led to the restructuring of associations into parent associations.

The newly released Guidelines Document for Parents’ Associations in All Pre-tertiary Schools, endorsed by the Ghana Education Service, recognizes the valuable contributions of parent associations to schools.

GES emphasizes that parent associations should function autonomously, independent of school management and staff.

While they are encouraged to explore various avenues to generate funds for school development, they are prohibited from levying any fees on students or pupils.

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