June 20, 2024
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Free SHS: Parents opting for boarding status for children must pay – EduWatch

Education think tank, Africa Education Watch, has urged the government to reconsider its Free SHS policy, proposing that parents opting to have their children reside in the boarding house should be responsible for covering the associated fees.

In a ‘Financial Burden Analysis of the Free SHS Policy and Implications on Equitable Access,’ EduWatch recommended that free boarding secondary education should be reserved for students in underserved communities.

The study, which was commissioned by Africa Education Watch (Eduwatch) with support from Oxfam as part of the DANIDA Strategic Partnership II Project, explained that allowing parents to pay will allow the government to generate some revenue to complement the Free SHS.

“In the medium-to-long-term, the MoE must develop and implement a strategy to gradually transition Ghana’s secondary education system from the current boarding-as-a-norm to day-as-norm. Free boarding secondary education should be reserved strategically for students in underserved communities where there is no reasonable commutable access to a secondary school.

“However, parents, who in spite of an opportunity for their wards to be day students for free, still decide to opt for boarding status must pay for its full cost.”

The study also recommended that the government improve the disbursement of funds under the Free SHS to improve teaching and learning.

“The MoF must improve the disbursement of funds under the free SHS policy. The timely availability of funds (especially at the school level) to procure. items that were previously ‘smuggled’ into prospectus, is critical to sustain compliance with the current moderate, harmonised prospectus. This will also improve the availability of adequate foodstuffs and other Teaching and Learning Resources in schools to reduce the financial burden on some parents to supply provisions to their wards in school.”

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