Concerns Raised Over Troubling Free SHS Bill by Eduwatch

by Louisa Afful
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Eduwatch, a leading educational policy powerhouse, raises red flags about the upcoming Free Senior High School (SHS) Bill. They contend that the bill, slated for presentation in Parliament, appears to be less about sustainable educational reform and more about political optics.

At the heart of the matter is the Free SHS policy, championed by the Akufo-Addo administration, which aims to break down financial barriers to secondary education by providing coverage for fees, textbooks, boarding, and meals.

However, Eduwatch warns that the bill’s introduction may signify a shift towards political expediency rather than genuine educational advancement.Eduwatch’s Executive Director, Kofi Asare, expressed these concerns during an interview on Adom FM’s morning show Dwaso Nsem on Wednesday. He pointed out that the Free SHS policy is already included in the Pre-Tertiary Education Act passed in December 2020, which states that secondary education, including TVET, should be free and accessible to all eligible candidates.

Asare questioned the need for a new law, suggesting that the government’s focus might be more on securing a political legacy than addressing the actual challenges of the Free SHS policy.“The Pre-Tertiary Education Law, which was passed by Parliament and assented to on December 29, 2020, already includes provisions for free SHS under Section 3. This gives the policy legal and binding effect,” Asare explained. He further noted that the bill’s introduction seemed unnecessary and that the government should prioritize addressing more pressing issues related to the Free SHS policy.

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