In what has been interpreted as throwing in the towel on the Free Senior High School policy by the Akufo Addo administration, the Minister of Education, Dr. Yaw Adutwum, has said that parents are free to pay fees for their wards.
In an interview with Starr FM, the minister said: “If you want to pay fees for your child enjoying free SHS, you go to the school and give money to the headmaster. We’ll applaud you for that.”
According to him, the Akufo Addo government would applaud any parent who decided to pay their ward’s school fees out of their own volition.
The minister’s subtleties betray and even worrying reality that the Akufo Addo administration may have grown fatigued with its main government policy-to provide free senior high school education to all who qualifies.
Earlier, Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, had decried the huge budget required to fund the ambitious policy. He hinted in a media interview that it may be possible that despite the free education of his government, some parents who have the means to pay fees should be made to pay.
The Akufo Addo administration has been chastised for the haphazard handling of its biggest policy. The government had basically been investing in recurrent expenditure of the policy and had mostly ignored infrastructure for the schools receiving the new intakes of new free SHS applicants.
The lack of infrastructure has forced the government to revert to the shift system of education which they had coined as the “double track” system.
The poor handling of the policy had resulted in the Ghana Education Service (GES) being terrified of the next academic term.
Earlier this month, students had reported to school after vacation, only to be told that their vacation had been extended by one more month.
“The kids being asked to go back home was a mistake by GES. The team has done well but there can be missteps and they apologized. I can tell parents that their children’s education is in good hands,” Dr Adutwum explained.