Youth Empowerment Summit, an association that aims at empowering the youth has petitioned against the government’s policy of making the second cycle education absolutely free (Free SHS) in the country.
The statement was made at a news conference held at Fumasua, a suburb of Kumasi in the Ashanti Region of Ghana.
Speaking at the conference, the convener, and president of the group, Clement Sarfo Adjei, who is also the principal of Ideal College – Kumasi said though free SHS policy is good, there are more questions and factors government need to consider before implementing it.
“Youth Empowerment Summit is not against Free SHS but will commend any government or group that is ready to resource and help educate the youth of Ghana. However, as citizens, we owe it an onerous duty and responsibility to safeguard the collective good of Ghana”. Mr Sarfo said
“We therefore call on you, Mr President and honourable minister of education to consider our critiques against the ‘wholesale’ free SHS programme and our suggestions on the programme to build a greater and better Ghana for us all”. He pleaded.
The petitioners went further give reasons for the petition stating that, looking at the financial spine of the Ghanaian economy, it is too weak to support wholesale free SHS for both day and boarding students including feeding.
The convener, Clement added that it may not be possible for government to sustainably finance the project for its effectiveness.
“According to the honourable minister of education Ghana needs more than 200 million dollars to refurbish and resource dilapidated and collapsing schools across the country which is not readily available but the same government is ready to pump at least 3.6 billion Ghana cedis into Free SHS every year”. He chided.
On the issue of corruption, he said that, the whole project is likely to suffer in the hands of authorities who would be vested with the power to manage it
“It is likely to be another avenue for corruption and inordinate profiteering like NYEP, GYEEDA, YEA, MASLOC, cocoa mass spraying, school feeding program, among many others”.
However, the group made some series of suggestions which they think would be helpful for government to consider.
“We are vehemently opposed to the wholesale implementation of Free SHS and rather recommend that it should only cater for and cover children from families within the lowest income bracket”