Africa Education Watch has backed calls by former President Mahama for the government to extend the free Senior High School to private schools in the country.
According to Eduwatch, comparing the numbers for enrollment for public schools which is about 1.2 million and private schools number about 70,000 the government should be able to absorb private schools.
“So taking about just six per cent of the students that the government will be taking on which translates to 70,000. And if we are talking annual spending of Ghc3,800, if you look at the portfolio of the free Senior High School program the government spends on a child is Ghc3,800.
“So these 70,000 in the private enrollment if we are able to take annual expenditure on them, the government should be spending like GHC256 million per year on the 70,000 in the private school enrollment,” a Research Fellow with Africa Education Watch, Divine Kpe told Lily Mohammed on Starr Today Thursday.
He, however, added that for the policy to successfully absorb the private schools the government must, first of all, streamline the policy.
“It is viable if we are about to streamline the current operation of the free Senior High School program. In its current state, I am not sure we will be able to add an additional load of pressure to the enrollment number that the government will have to take care of.
“But the caveat is if we are able to address the challenges, especially the financial aspect, we will be able to get our parents to be able to be part of the cost-sharing. When it comes to feeding I am sure we will be able to extend this program to private schools. Even if it is not a hundred percent cost at the private schools the government could be driving into a program of what is called government assisted school program.”
Former President John Dramani Mahama has reiterated the call for stakeholder engagement to review the Free Senior High School Policy to address the challenges bedevilling the policy and affecting the quality of education.
According to Mr Mahama, a Bursary system that targets the poorest families and households, which also covers private senior High Schools would help to address the financial and infrastructural challenges of the policy.
Addressing the 8th Biennial National delegate’s conference of Ghana National Association of Private Schools (GNAPS) ongoing in Koforidua on Wednesday, former President John Dramani stated that the current implementation module of the Free SHS policy is unsustainable and lowering the quality and standard of education at the Secondary education level.
He, therefore, reiterated his call for a national stakeholder’s engagement for the Policy to be reviewed, and bring onboard private senior High schools to help address the financial and infrastructural challenges bedeviling the policy.
“The time is now for us to rise to the occasion and collectively agree as actors in the political and developmental space on the need to depoliticise issues of urgent priority such as education delivery in our country…what is the use of education if it does not have the quality to give the learner a chance and opportunity in life.” the former President stated.