Feature: Our Free Senior High School Policy: A Call for Review

The Free Senior High School (SHS) Policy, introduced in 2017, is a laudable initiative aimed at providing equal educational opportunities for all Ghanaian Junior High School Graduates. However, as with any policy, it is essential to evaluate and review its effectiveness to ensure that it aligns with the country’s economic strength and addresses, the needs of the students and the nation as a whole. In this article, I will make key policy Inputs and discuss the areas where the Free SHS Policy should be reviewed to enhance its sustainability and significant positive impact on the citizenry.

Recommended Policy Inputs:

Targeted Assistance for the Economically Disadvantaged

While the overarching goal of providing free education as a fulfilment within the 1992 constitution is commendable, a nuanced approach suggests that resources should be directed specifically towards those in genuine need. Focusing on economically disadvantaged families ensures that the government’s investment reaches those who require it most, creating a more equitable distribution of educational resources.

Catchment Area Advantage

A proposal gaining traction in the review discourse is the idea of making the policy free for students willing to attend schools within their catchment areas. This strategic idea will not only foster a sense of community but also stream line logistics, making education more accessible and efficient for both students and the government.

Agriculture in SHS Co-Curricular Activities

In the quest to reduce the cost of feeding students, integrating agriculture into SHS co-curricular activities is worth considering. Beyond cost reduction, this approach will impart valuable skills to students, align education with real-world applications and sustainable practices.

Financial Contribution from Private Junior High School Graduates

Acknowledging the varying economic capacities of families, the proposal that graduates of private junior high schools contribute financially to their senior high education adds a layer of fairness. This targeted approach will ensure that those capable of paying fees contribute to the overall sustainability of the policy, easing the financial burden on the government.

Day Senior High Schools in Basic Schools with Extensive Compounds

Efficiency and accessibility take centre stage in the recommendation to establish day Senior High Schools within basic schools boasting ample compounds. This streamlined process aims to eliminate the need for long-distance placements, allowing students to transition seamlessly to the next phase of their education within their immediate surroundings.

Abolishing the Track System

A significant aspect within the review appeal will involve scrutinizing and potentially abolishing the track system. This will address concerns regarding prolonged periods of students staying at home, particularly those without the means to attend private classes, who find themselves at a disadvantaged position.


Policy Review Justifications:

  • The Economic Rationale

Aligning the policy with the economic strength of the nation will ensure that educational resources are utilized judiciously. By focusing on the economically disadvantaged, the government can optimize its investment, fostering a more sustainable and impactful educational system.

  • The Community Connection

Making the policy free for those attending schools within their catchment areas will go beyond mere logistics; it builds a sense of community. This connection can be a driving force, not only for academic success but also for the development of a collective responsibility towards education.

  • Cultivating Skills and Sustainability

Integrating agriculture into SHS co-curricular activities will be considered as is a forward-thinking initiative. Beyond the immediate cost benefits, it will instilpractical skills in students, fostering a connection between education and sustainable practices. This will lay the groundwork for a generation attuned to the needs of the nation.

  • Equity in Financial Contribution

The proposal for graduates of private junior high schools to pay fees at the senior high level is a step towards financial equity. Recognizing the diverse economic capacities of families, this measure ensures that those who can afford to contribute do so, creating a more balanced and sustainable financial model.

  • Efficiency through Day Senior High Schools

Establishing day Senior High Schools within basic schools with extensive compounds is a strategic move towards efficiency. It will minimize the need for extensive placements and ensure that students can progress smoothly. Also, it will consequently reduce the logistical challenges associated with distant placements.

  • Inclusivity through Abolishing the Track System

The track system’s potential abolition will address a significant concern – the extended periods students spend at home. This will foster inclusivity, and ensure that all students, regardless of their financial means, have continuous access to education. This will help  level the playing field and contribute to a more equitable and robust educational system.


The call to review Ghana’s Free Senior High School Policy is not a divergence from its noble intent but a collective endeavour to refine and fortify a system that has the potential to shape the nation’s future. By incorporating these proposed directions, Ghana can stride confidently towards a future where education is not only accessible but also sustainable, embodying the essence of progress and inclusivity.

By Wisdom KoudjoKlu,




Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here