Free SHS Bill to be presented to Parliament

The Government of Ghana, through the Minister of Education, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum, is expected to lay before Parliament a Bill that seeks to give legal backing and regulation to the implementation of the Free Senior High School (FSHS) flagship project.

Dr. Adutwum is expected to do this during the Third Meeting of the Fourth Session of the Eighth Parliament of the Fourth Republic.

The Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, revealed this at a Leadership of Parliament engagement with the press in Accra on Tuesday, June 11, 2024.

He stated that the move by the government aims to put more weight on the Free SHS policy, compelling successive governments to continue its implementation.

“This Free SHS Bill, if considered by the House, becomes mandatory for governments to implement it unless it is repealed. No government would have the right to say I am not going to enforce free SHS because now there is a law. So, if you fail, a citizen can apply to the court, and the court would exact justice in that citizen’s favour. So, that is the good thing about this Free SHS Bill,” he noted.

Afenyo-Markin explained that although the Free SHS policy has inherent legal backing since its introduction, it is essential to “give it life” through legislation to regulate it.

The Free SHS policy, introduced in 2017 by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government, led by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, provides free secondary education to all students in public Senior High Schools and has been extended to cover public Technical, Vocational Education and Training institutions.

The policy aims at increasing access to education, reduce financial burden on parents and guardians, improve quality of education and enhance student academic performance.

Key features of the policy include free tuition, boarding and meals, as well as free textbooks, uniforms and other school supplies.

While the policy has been praised for its potential to improve education in Ghana, it has faced challenges and criticism, including concerns about funding, infrastructure and implementation.

However, the Free SHS Bill expected to be introduced in Parliament would address most of the concerns raised by critics, according to Afenyo-Markin.

By Stephen Odoi-Larbi


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