IMPLEMENTATION OF THE FREE SHS POLICY: AN ALTERNATIVE
ALL TEACHERS ALLIANCE GHANA
We want to commend the President once again for his bold step in implementing the free SHS policy. Though it was met with great deal of opposition due to the cost involve and unavailable infrastructure, he took the bull by the horn and implemented the program knowing very well the challenges that come with it.
Currently, after the implementation of the policy, we have come to the crossroad. A decision that has left the whole nation talking and the ministry with headache. We do not blame the minister since it is his job to work for the betterment of the nation, he proposed the double track system as a means to absorb the numbers that may turn out in the next academic year.
For this reason many have raised red flag over the system: the feasibility and the further challenges that may accompany it.
We in the All Teachers Alliance Ghana (ATAG) have said that the tracking system will put enormous pressure on both teachers and students as well as parents due to limited duration involve.
We have also expressed reservations about the fact that there could be further exams failures, malpractices etc going forward.
Many other think tanks and analysts have raised similar and other concerns.
Against this background that, ATAG is proposing an alternative to the implementation of the free SHS policy that will ease the pressure that is currently besetting it.
We believe that the wholesale implementation of the Free SHS policy in all second cycle institutions need to be reconsidered. We therefore strongly believe that VARIANT POLICY will suffice better since many parents in Ghana can afford to pay for their wards education.
What we mean by VARIANT is that all the public SHS should be graded or categorised into A – D schools based on certain matrix that looks at the resources available in the school, the reputation, location and calibre or background of students.
All Grade A schools, for instance could be the First Class schools with full blown facilities and infrastructure and let say all Grade D schools could be pure community schools.
People in Grade A schools for instance will be allowed to pay fees less 20%, Grade B less 40%, Grade C less 60% while Grade D will automatically enjoy free SHS.
To avoid discrimination, brilliant and needy students who are placed in Category/Grade A and B schools could apply for scholarship to be able to enjoy 100% free policy.
We believe that the VARIANT SYSTEM will solve most of the problems we are trying to swerve: cost and numbers.
1. The quality that has ever existed in some First Class schools in Ghana won’t be compromised. We must try not to jeopardize that standard and reputation in these schools.
2. Government could get ample time to upgrade lower grade schools. Grade C and D schools will get the opportunity to receive more resources to improve upon their quality.
3. The numbers will be checked because more students by default won’t ennrol for reasons better known to them.
4. Private schools may also absorb some numbers who might not get the opportunity to be placed in their choice schools.
There’s no policy implementation that is without challenges. We believe this variant system might have its own difficulties but we in ATAG believe its prospects far outweigh the wholesale implementation of the policy.
We are appealing to all stakeholders to consider this our alternative proposal and take it into consideration before we cripple our SHS education system with uncertainties.
We want to admonish our good minister to take caution on his step of implementing the double track system and also to seek thorough advice from stakeholders, policy analysts and think tanks as well as considering other possible alternatives before any form of enrollment. We are not against the double track system but our hopes of getting the quality are vague.
Long Live Ghana!
Long Live Teachers!
Long Live Teachers Unions!
Albert Dadson Amoah