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Free SHS: NPP Intentionally Left Some Students Behind – Minority   
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The New Patriotic Party (NPP) government only budgeted for 85 percent of the Basic Education Certificate Education graduates in for its free secondary education policy, according to the Minority in Parliament.

The Minority, which has been accusing the NPP of being hypocritical in its implementation of the Free SHS policy, noted that this was at odds with its pledge to leave no qualified student behind.

“…contrary to its public posture that the Government does not intend to leave any child behind, the projection of the Akufo-Addo cabinet is that only 85% of SHS students will accept their placements and turn up for school,” the minority said at a press conference on Monday addressed by the Minority Leader, Haruna Idrissu. 

According to the Minority, “the NPP Government has made provision in its budget for only 362,781 SHS students entering the first year.”

Thus, “per current placement figures, Government has made no arrangements for 62,711 students.”

Between 2013 and  2016, 27% of qualified SHS students missed out on secondary education. An average of 107,640 BECE graduates placed in public Secondary and Technical Schools between 2013 and 2016 were unable to enroll in school.

1,573,761 BECE graduates have been placed over the past four years with 430,563 dropping out.

The inability of these students to continue their education is believed to be largely due to financial constraints.

It is figures like these that have informed the urgency with which the government has pursued its Free SHS policy to address inequality and ensure equal opportunities for all students through the removal of cost barriers.

But the Minority remains skeptical of the policy, adding that “the NPP Government disingenuously refused to adjust this year’s GES approved fees as has been the tradition every year.”

“This tradition in fixing fees annually factors inflation and ensures that quality is not compromised.  The NPP Government surreptitiously used last academic year’s GES approved fees of 1,022.20 for boarders and GHS 560 for day students in order that it can beat down the actual cost of Free SHS.  A trend analysis we have conducted over the last five years reveals that this year’s approved fees should not have been less than GHS 1,320 for boarders and GHS 715 for day students,” Mr. Iddrisu said.

These points, coupled with the NPP government’s inability to identify a clear and reliable funding source for their Free SHS, “clearly undermines its sustainability and the survival of quality SHS education in Ghana,” he added.

Source: citifmonline.com

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