The Metropolitan Archbishop of Cape Coast, Most Reverend Charles Gabriel Palmer-Buckle, has added his voice to the calls for a review of the free Senior High School (SHS) policy.
In spite of its benefits to parents, the Rev. Father, believes a stakeholders’ engagement on the policy is needed in order to address the challenges associated with it and improve on its outcomes.
The call comes at a time, when most second circle schools under the Roman Catholic, across the country look abandoned and dilapidated as they have seen no investment into their operations.
The poor state of affairs have also affected student’s academic performance.
Barely a year after its implementation, Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta, said the policy should have targeted persons with genuine needs and not made to benefit everyone saying people in his economic bracket should not be enjoying such a policy.
John Dramani Mahama of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), has also called for a review of the policy, but interestingly, the government twisted the word “review” to mean an abrogation.
Students across the country as a result of the present state of the Free SHS, have been without food, books, uniform among others which would have made learning worthwhile.
Many have suggested that the parents must be made to contribute to the policy, especially parents who can afford must be made to pay but this has not gone well to the government which wants to look good in the face of the citizens, and has been fighting any call for a review of the programme.
“I support 100%, the free SHS policy. [But] It is now time to have a stakeholder engagement to review the free SHS,” Most Reverend Charles Gabriel Palmer-Buckle, said.
He made the remarks at the launch of a book titled, “Accra ACA, Bleoo, The History of the Accra Academy from JamesTown to Bubuashie.”
The 726-page book was written by Simon Ontoyin, a graduate of the University of Ghana and an alumnus of Accra Academy.
Mr Ontoyin related that he was inspired to write the book because he realised there is not much information about the school on the internet.
Addressing the gathering, Reverend Charles Gabriel Palmer-Buckle acknowledged that even though the policy has been beneficial to parents whose wards enrolled onto the program, it can be rationalised to enhance Senior High School education in the country.
This adds up to the numerous calls for the policy to be reviewed.
Also at the event was the Deputy Education Minister and Member of Parliament for the Assin South Constituency, Rev. Ntim Fordjour, who was the keynote speaker.
On his part, Rev. Ntim Fordjour noted that the implementation of the policy requires collaboration from all stakeholders to overcome present challenges.
He added that global issues such as the Russia-Ukraine war have dealt a blow to many economies, and Ghana is no exception.
There have been suggestions for modifying the policy to ensure the quality of education as some say it is a huge burden on the country’s resources.
Ranging from the absence of limited infrastructure to a shortage of food and other setbacks, students enrolled on the programme are faced with a lot of inconveniences.