Editorial: Legislating FSHS Policy Is A Step In The Right Direction

The government is set to present the Free Senior High School (FSHS) Bill to Parliament in the coming days. This is aimed at regulating the FSHS policy and ensuring its sustainability, according to a story published by citinewsroom.com. This move comes amidst concerns of possible cancellation by future governments and challenges faced by the programme.

At a Leaders’ Media Briefing on Tuesday, June 11, 2024 the Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, disclosed this information and asserted that the bill seeks to make the policy more effective and sustainable, aligning with the aspirations outlined in Chapter 5 of the Constitution.He explained that, while these provisions are not enforceable by law, the government aims to make them justifiable through legislation.

The government’s imminent presentation of the Free Senior High School (SHS) Bill to Parliament marks a significant step towards solidifying one of the most transformative educational policies in the nation’s history.

Since its inception, the Free SHS program has opened doors to secondary education for countless young persons, particularly those from underprivileged backgrounds. The introduction of this bill aims to regulate the policy and ensure its sustainability, addressing concerns about its potential cancellation by future administrations and the various challenges it currently faces.

The Free SHS program, a cornerstone of the current administration’s educational policy, has been pivotal in enhancing access to secondary education. However, its sustainability has been a topic of heated debate. Stakeholders in the education sector, including EduWatch, an education think tank, have suggested that government should take immediate steps to review the free senior high school policy through stakeholder engagement.

There have been countless examples of government programmes and policies that successive governments have come to cancel. For instance, the cancellation of Teacher and Nursing Trainee Allowance is fresh in our memories, and the meddling of the SHS calendar from 4 years to 3 years cannot be forgotten so soon.

Therefore, if the government is able to transition this policy into a legislative framework, it would seek to safeguard the FSHS programme against the vagaries of political change.

The Chronicle believes there is also the need for evaluation and review of the policy so that we can identify what is going on well, and strengthen that which is not going on well.One of the primary concerns surrounding the Free SHS policy has been its financial sustainability. Stakeholders, including EduWatch, have proposed practical solutions to mitigate these concerns.

Education is a fundamental right and a critical driver of national development. As such, policies aimed at enhancing access to education should transcend political affiliations. The Free SHS Bill deserves bipartisan support to ensure its successful passage and implementation.The success of the Free SHS policy hinges not only on government initiatives but also on the active involvement of various stakeholders.

The Chronicle holds the view that every Ghanaian child deserves the opportunity to receive quality education, regardless of their socio-economic background. We urge Parliament to expedite the passage of this bill and to consider the recommendations of stakeholders to enhance its impact.


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