The Nana Akufo-Addo-led government’s flagship Free Senior High School policy was rushed through, ace satirist and TV talk show host, Kwaku Sintim-Misa (KSM) has said, suggesting that it could have been properly planned for a year or two before implementation.
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) government implemented the Free SHS policy in September 2017. It allowed about 90,000 students who would not have had the chance to go to school, to do so. It covers the full fees of students who attend public Senior High Schools.
In the next academic year, the number shot up to 181,000. Due to the increase in enrolment, the government introduced the double-track system to accommodate all the students.
The SHS double-track system is similar to the academic calendar used in the universities. With this system, each track will be in school for specific days for each semester and go on vacation and come back for the second semester. While the first track is in school, the second track will be on vacation and vice-versa.
Critics of the government, including former President John Dramani Mahama have said the policy will compromise the quality of education. He has, thus, promised to review the entire policy if he gets the opportunity to become president again.
Speaking to Benjamin Akakpo on the Executive Breakfast Show (EBS) on Class91.3FM on Wednesday, 23 January 2018, KSM said although the Free SHS policy is a novel idea, it was implemented in a rush.
He said: “The whole idea or agenda behind free education is a novel one, it is needed. We need to get a certain aspect of the generation really educated, get them to think and I think the SHS level is where we can grab people and shape their minds.
“So, I’m just saying, overall, the idea of being able to educate this group of people freely is a novel one but I think the question is: are we ready? One can say: ‘Well, when are we going to be ready, let’s jump in and just take it from there’, but, I would have rather wished more planning had gone into it. It could have taken another year or two.
“Let’s plan and execute and do it well. Right now, I have a feeling it was rushed. I could be very wrong but this is my opinion. I just think that it was rushed. Many people may be benefiting from it but very soon, the next stream of students will be coming on board, and are we going to bring more additional tracks? It is something that’s needed but it’s something that needs time to be implemented and done very well. My general impression is that it seems rushed”.